ShelterBox is Responding to Turkey and Syria Earthquakes

The humanitarian need in Turkey and Syria is immense and growing
Picture of DG Aimee Walsh

DG Aimee Walsh

Aimee Walsh, 5110 District Governor 2022-23

ShelterBox is responding after a series of powerful earthquakes devastated southern Turkey and northern Syria. We’re sending an emergency response team to carry out crucial assessments and establish how we can best help.

ShelterBox is launching an emergency fundraising appeal. Your support will contribute to our Turkey and Syria Earthquakes response as part of our general fund. We believe that the best way for us to be impactful is by staying flexible, and it is essential that we have funds available to support those affected by disasters around the world.

We’re speaking with our existing partners in Syria and Rotary contacts in Turkey to understand more about what’s needed and how we might provide support where it is needed most.

The humanitarian need in Turkey and Syria is immense and growing – it’s the most devastating earthquake to hit the region in 100 years. The death toll has surpassed 5,000 and is likely to rise significantly, and thousands of buildings have been destroyed in both countries leaving people homeless, with nowhere to sleep, in the middle of a bitter winter.

A powerful 7.8m earthquake struck southern Turkey, close to the northern Syria border, at 4.17am local time (1.17am GMT) on Monday 6 February. The epicenter was about 20 miles from Gaziantep – a major city and provincial capital. Minutes later there was a strong 6.7m aftershock, followed by another major 7.5m earthquake striking hours later in the same region.

The region where the earthquakes struck is home to significant numbers of Syrian refugees.

ShelterBox provides different combinations of emergency shelter and essential household items depending on what is needed. This could be tents and shelter kits, stoves, thermal blankets, and clothing to keep people warm through the freezing winter nights. It could be cash to help people buy what they need to survive. Or it could solar lights that help people when there is no electricity.

Head of Emergency Response for ShelterBox, Alice Jefferson says: “Emergency responses to a disaster of this scale can be a huge logistical nightmare especially against the clock. Freezing temperatures and heavy rain are causing extra complications. The poor weather poses a real threat to life for people whose homes are now rubble or unsafe to return to. Access and communication are challenging and that’s why responses must be well-coordinated to make sure that the right aid is getting to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.”

Club and district support is desperately needed so we can reach survivors in the aftermath of this disaster.

Please contact your club to donate to Shelterbox or you can donate to the Rotary Disaster Response Fund.

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