What can people in Wales do to help?

Damaged buildings in Hatay on February 8, 2023 in Hatay, Türkiye

Two earthquakes devastated large swathes of Turkey and Syria

More than 11,000 people have been killed and thousands injured since southeastern Turkey was hit by a massive earthquake this week.

Strike near Gaziantep, it was followed by multiple aftershocks, one nearly as large as the first.

In some of the hardest-hit areas, families have said rescue efforts have been too slow, leaving them to find relatives without help.

As people watch events unfold, they begin to wonder what they can do.

Who do I contact to help?

The Wales Center for International Affairs is urging people to donate to the groups already in place.

He said this should be done through established organisations, such as the British Syrian Medical Society, Islamic Relief in Turkey and Syria, Oxfam in Turkey and Syria and the British Red Cross and Red Crescent.

The organization urged people to send only money saying: “WCIA strongly encourages people in Wales to focus on donating funds rather than clothing and other items, which may be impossible to transport and distribute and can undermine coordination of local relief efforts on the ground. .”

The funds, he said, would reach those on the ground faster so they can provide survivors with what they need most: medical treatment, shelter and clothing.

Map showing the location of the two earthquakes in Turkey

The magnitude of the earthquake was classified as “major” on the official scale of magnitudes

Salah Aboulgasem of Islamic Relief, based in Gazientep, Turkey, said: “The priority right now is to save lives by clearing the rubble.

“The next priority is to support people who have lost their homes and suffered great trauma. People need medicine and warmth.”

Has DEC made an appeal?

When catastrophes such as earthquakes occur, the Disaster Emergency Committee usually calls for help.

An umbrella group of UK charities, they make collective appeals to raise funds for aid and relief to people caught up in disasters and humanitarian crises.

He has announced that his appeal will be officially launched on Thursday.

It is believed that 380,000 people had sought refuge in government shelters or hotels.

On its website, it said: “Immediate priorities are medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, heating in safe spaces, blankets, warm clothing and ensuring people have food and clean water.”

The televised appeals will be broadcast on the BBC, ITV, S4C, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky on Thursday and the BBC radio appeals will be broadcast throughout the day.

DEC CEO Saleh Saeed on stage at the charity fundraiser

DEC executive director Saleh Saeed said the devastation was “heartbreaking.”

DEC CEO Saleh Saeed said: “The devastation in Turkey and Syria is heartbreaking, with thousands of people losing loved ones suddenly in the most shocking way.

“Funds are urgently needed to support families with medical help, emergency shelter, food and clean water in freezing and snowy conditions.”

What are other people in Wales doing?

Firefighters from across the UK, including West and Central Wales, and the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, are heading to Turkey to help.

A dog detection team from Penmaenmawr, County Conwy had hoped to come out to help but they withdrew on Tuesday.

The family of Swansea University psychology professor Filiz Celik lives in Adana, Turkey, which has been devastated by the earthquake.

He woke up to find that his phone was ringing with text messages, but since then he found that his family is fine.

But there are friends you can’t communicate with because the phones have been cut off and there is no way to charge them.

filiz celik

Professor Filiz Celik hopes to travel to Turkey to help

Professor Celik is now raising money to send to help and wants to get out and help at some point to offer help as a psychologist.

“I’m going to talk to my employers, maybe to take an extended leave and go,” he said.

Newport Diyanet Education Community Center, a Turkish group, has sent two vans and a truck full of donations and is now focusing on fundraising due to difficulties transporting the donations.

Cagri Coskun from the center said: “We are trying to send money so they can get blankets, generators and whatever else they need from there.”

“There are a number of charities in the UK liaising with search and rescue teams so the money can go to people on the ground.”

In Cwmbran, Torfaen, dance teacher Beckie Forrest has also been collecting donations.

Her husband’s family, Selman Han, is from Turkey but he is doing well.

The 33-year-old mother of two said she was hosting a raffle and was concentrating on raising money.

“The response has been amazing, so many people have donated,” he said.

Mohammed Alhadj Ali of the Syrian Welsh Society called the situation “catastrophic”.

He said: “They need medical help, they need shelters, help and support to get people out of rooms.”

Is the UK government helping?

The UK government will match the first £2m of donations from the UK public to DEC’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal as part of a broader support package.

He said this was in addition to ongoing UK aid to Syria and Turkey.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “When disasters like these terrible earthquakes strike, we know the British people want to help.”

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