More than 8,700 people are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to rise exponentially, after the worst earthquakes this decade struck southern Turkey and northern Syria.
A 7.8-magnitude quake and a series of strong aftershocks hit both sides of the border in the early hours of Monday, reducing buildings to rubble as families lay sleeping in their beds.
Hours later, a second 7.5-magnitude tremor struck, further hampering attempts to pull people from the wreckages that were once schools, hospitals and homes.
Rescue workers and residents in multiple cities are now searching through tangles of metal and concrete as they attempt to find survivors buried beneath the debris.
The weather is also hindering progress, with harsh weather conditions meaning time – and hope – is running out to save those who remain trapped.
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Offers of aid and personnel from some 65 countries have been sent to help with the search and rescue operation, with Turkish president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan declaring a state of emergency in 10 provinces, and officials voicing particular concern about the situation in Syria which is already reeling from nearly 12 years of civil war.
As the desperate recovery efforts continue, here’s a look at what we can all do to help support the victims of the disaster.
Get your information from official news sources
People might share what they believe to be accurate information during this difficult time.
It's essential to check the source of information and be sure it has come from official channels and reliable places.
Double-check that authorities have reported on what you share before posting it on social media.
If you have relatives in the area
If you are concerned about relatives or loved ones in the area, you should contact the relevant embassy.
For urgent assistance, you can call the British Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on +90 312 455 3344 or +44 (0)20 7008 5000, which is available 24 hours a day. Select the option for “calling about an emergency involving a British national” to speak to an officer.
You can also reach Turkish embassy in London on +44 (0)20 7393 0202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They are located at 43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PA.
The UK no longer has an embassy in Syria, and its Syrian embassy in London is now closed.
People continue to search through rubble in the Turkish city of AdanaReuters
Donate to Oxfam's Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal
When making donations to disaster relief funds, it's important to go for trusted, reputable agencies, so that you know your money will reach the victims (don't just go for the first GoFundMe you see).
Oxfam has now set up a dedicated appeal on its website, which you can access and donate to here.
On the page, it clarifies: "For every £1 you donate to this emergency appeal, we will allocate 9p of your donation to cover general support and running costs. There is a small chance that we will raise more money than is needed for this appeal. If this happens, we'll spend any additional funds on other Oxfam projects – wherever the need is greatest."
Donate to CARE's Turkey Syria Earthquakes Fund
CARE International's on-the-ground teams in the Turkish city of Gaziantep are responding to the worst affected areas in Turkey and Northwest Syria, delivering blankets, food, mattresses, tents, and other essential items.
You can donate here to help ensure this emergency aid reaches those in need.
Donate to Project HOPE's earthquake response
The global health and humanitarian aid organisation has emergency response teams on the ground and more workers en route to the worst affected areas.
The NGO's CEO Rabih Torbay said of the crisis: “We anticipate a very arduous and long road to recovery ahead, including search and rescue efforts, health system reconstruction, and mass displacement.
"As temperatures hover near freezing and airport closures and snowstorms delay access, Project HOPE has deployed an emergency response effort and is working with local and international partners to respond to the immediate needs.”
You can help fund their efforts by donating here.
Wounded survivors wait to be treated at a field hospital in Iskenderun, TurkeyGetty Images
Support disabled victims through Humanity and Inclusion
Disability charity Humanity & Inclusion has launched an emergency response to support injured and disabled people.
Its head of mission for Syria, Myriam Abord-Hugon, said in a statement: "There are thousands of injured people, and many of these injuries may worsen or turn into permanent disabilities if they do not receive appropriate rehabilitation services. In addition, people have suffered significant trauma and will need psychosocial support."
They are currently reinforcing their team in Syria (currently 335 staff) to provide injured and disabled people with physical rehabilitation, mobility aids, and mental health support.
You can donate to their appeal here.
More than 1,500 pages were launched and more than £500,000 raised on GoFundMe across the world in the first 24 hours following Monday's quakes.
To help those in the UK looking to donate to the various fundraisers or start their own, the platform has launched a centralised hub, which you can access here.
Support the IBC
The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC) has offices across the region and is currently assisting local authorities in their rescue efforts.
The NGO said in a public appeal on Monday that it was receiving calls and social media messages from thousands of people trapped under the ruins of buildings pleading to be rescued.
It says its most urgent needs are to supply:
- Tens of thousands of tents
- Heaters for the tents
- Tens of thousands of blankets
- Thermal clothes
- Food for the more than 5,000 victims its officers currently have access to
- Basic first-aid kits
The IBC says it has mobilised all of its capacity in the region and has established an emergency response coordination centre in Gaziantep, Turkey, to coordinate all regional operations.
For urgent information, you can contact its vice president Muzaffer Baca on +90 532 2344229 or email email@example.com.
You can also contact Alper Mav, the IBC’s Regional Programmes Coordinator in Gaziantep on +90 538 5159806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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