Turkey and Syria earthquake victims to be given free housing by Airbnb

About nine million people in Syria have been affected by the earthquake, the UN says

A man prays near the rubble of destroyed buildings in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, on Tuesday. Reuters
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Follow the latest news on the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

Airbnb is offering temporary accommodation free of charge to people displaced by last week's earthquake in Turkey and Syria, and to relief workers, the company said on Wednesday.

It said it would use its network of non-profits to find accommodation, with a voucher system for people letting their homes to holidaymakers.

The stays will be co-ordinated by Airbnb's non-profit partners and funded by the company and donors to its website. Airbnb is an online service that allows people to offer short-term lettings to holidaymakers.

“Survivors and first responders urgently need temporary housing. Every donation will be matched up to $5 million total, doubling your impact,” the company said.

The support will also include first responders assisting with search and rescue, as well as continuing relief and recovery efforts.

The disaster, with a combined death toll in Turkey and Syria exceeding 37,000, has ravaged cities in both countries, leaving many survivors homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures.

It remains uncertain whether the buildings that are still standing are safe. On top of that, they have no water or electricity.

Millions of lives have been affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the region last Monday.

Rescue workers have slowed down their operations looking for survivors and are now focusing on assisting the thousands of displaced people.

On Tuesday night, a Syrian man, 65, and a young girl were rescued from the rubble of a building in the southern Turkish city of Antakya, 208 hours after the earthquake struck.

The UN said about nine million people in Syria were affected by the quake as it launched a $400 million funding appeal to help survivors.

Updated: February 16, 2023, 7:04 AM