Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: here’s how you can help

Rescue efforts are underway in Turkey and Syria after two catastrophic earthquakes. Here’s how you can do your bit

Grace Beard
Written by
Grace Beard
Travel Editor
Aftermath of earthquake in Turkey, February 2023
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/Time Out

What is happening in Turkey and Syria?

On Monday, two devastating earthquakes struck southern Turkey and north-west Syria. Thousands have been killed and injured, any many more have been displaced. 

On both sides of the border, buildings have collapsed and rescue efforts are underway to recover survivors from piles of rubble. The earthquake will cause further displacement for people fleeing war in Syria: a country already devastated by 12 years of destruction.

As Turkey and Syria recover from the earthquake, many families now face homelessness, and are in desperate need of resources, from shelter and food to medical aid. So here’s what you can do to help.

Where did the earthquake hit in Turkey and Syria?

The epicentre of the main quake was about 34 kilometres west of the Turkish city of Gaziantep. The area in general sits at the meeting point of three tectonic plates – the Anatolian, Arabian, and African plates – which makes it prone to tremors. The earthquake and its aftershocks were felt as far away as Cyprus and Lebanon.

How can I help earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria?

Donating to a global relief organisation doing work on the ground is the best way to make a difference. Here are the charities working on the ground and appeals we know of so far. Watch this space over the coming days for more ways that you can help.

Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM) has released a statement saying its hospitals and medical facilities are overwhelmed and in need of support. The organisation has been providing medical relief to victims of war in Syria since 2012. Donate to UOSSM here.

Oxfam has launched an appeal to support the charity’s emergency response on the ground. Donate here.

Turkish Red Crescent has teamed with Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide relief on the ground. Donate here.

Action for Humanity, the parent charity of Syria Relief, has launched an appeal to support their teams on the ground. Donate here

Islamic Relief has launched an appeal to support their teams on the ground, who are providing food and shelter in Turkey and medical assistance and supplies in Syria. Donate here.

Doctors Without Borders are supporting hospitals in north-west Syria and need your support. Donate here.

Human Appeal has launched an appeal to support local teams on the ground. Donate here

People in Need has also launched an appeal to support its team on the ground. Donate here.

And finally, there’s tourism. Over the next few years, the affected regions will be reeling from the earthquake’s devastation and will need support getting back to life as normal. Visiting these regions will mean you’ll be spending your cash in local communities and aiding the area’s longer-term recovery.

Are there any travel implications for tourists?

Tourists in Turkey are being advised to avoid the area stricken by the earthquake and to follow local guidance. Certain airports in the region have also been closed to commercial flights (namely Adana, Gazientep and Hatay), but Turkey’s other major tourist centres remain open and accessible. Anyone planning trips to Turkey should check with local authorities and tour operators before they travel. 

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