UK donors give more than £150m in Turkey-Syria earthquake appeal

Money raised is being used to provide a range of support to earthquake victims as they rebuild their lives

A child sits amid rubble in the city of Jindires following the earthquake near Aleppo, Syria. Getty Images
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Contributions to the UK's earthquake appeal for Turkey and Syria have topped £150 million ($191 million) six months on.

The February 6 earthquake killed at least 58,000 people across southern Turkey and north-west Syria.

Donations have reached £151.8 million, which includes £5 million matched by the UK government through the Aid Match scheme, the Disasters Emergency Committee announced.

“The British public has been incredibly generous to the appeal, for Turkey and Syria over £150 million has been raised,” said Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the DEC.

“This is going a long way to help the survivors with the essentials, with providing healthcare, psychosocial support, physiotherapy, cash vouchers so people can buy food and the things they want, the distribution of hygiene kits, kitchen sets, dignity kits.

“We have to remember that lots of people lost everything in the earthquake so the aid is going sometimes on the basics, for essential items that help people recover and help people survive.

“I feel incredibly humbled and privileged to be working at DEC, an organisation that mobilises so many people up and down the land and of course first and foremost the British public who are incredibly generous.

“And it’s really placed the UK as a leadership country when it comes to responding on the back of millions of people wanting to stand in solidarity, whether it’s Ukraine, whether it’s Turkey and Syria or the recent Pakistan floods and so forth.”

Efforts following the earthquake in Turkey and Syria – in pictures

Since the earthquakes, survivors have faced first torrential rains and flooding and now extreme heat, which is also affecting much of southern Europe.

This appeal is the third largest in the DEC’s 60-year history. In the first three months of the DEC response, across Turkey and Syria, 40,300 households received cash or voucher payments to help meet their basic needs, 427,000 people were provided with access to safe drinking water, 201,000 received emergency food or a voucher for food, 48,200 gained access to health services such as mobile clinics, medical kits and free medication.

Mr Saeed returned this week from visiting DEC-funded projects in Gaziantep, southern Turkey, where he met people affected by the earthquakes.

“The figure to rebuild people’s homes and rebuild people’s lives is in the billions and, of course, we’re not going to raise that and don’t expect people to contribute that,” Mr Saeed added.

“But what we’re grateful for is the people that have already given and are continuing to give to DEC appeals, are going a long way to providing support and relief.”

Updated: August 03, 2023, 3:11 AM