In the early hours of the morning on February 6, two destructive earthquakes hit Türkiye (formerly known as Turkey) and Syria. The 7.6 and 7.8 magnitude disasters have resulted in over 40,000 deaths so far, with more casualties predicted as the extent of the damage continues to emerge.
Nearly 7,000 buildings — including businesses, schools and homes — have been affected, leaving at least 2.4 million people displaced at the time of publication, with bodies of victims and survivors continuing to be pulled from the rubble. Further exacerbating the catastrophe are icy temperatures during the harsh winter and a cholera outbreak.
The Kahramanmaras earthquake is the most powerful earthquake to hit Türkiye in over eight decades, while Syria has been in the midst of a civil war for 12 years, with a predicted 4 million people already in need of vital humanitarian aid and support prior to the earthquake.
"I have an urgent message to the international community: the human suffering from this epic natural disaster should not be made even worse by manmade obstacles — access, funding, supplies," said Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres a week after the earthquakes struck. "This is a moment for unity, for common humanity and concerted action."
There is an immediate and continued need for food, water, shelter and emergency supplies right now, and this is one area where we can all make a positive contribution. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is advising people to stay alert, aware and cautious when approached by suspicious representatives, to avoid inadvertently donating to scammers, who, in the wake of the destruction, have taken the opportunity to rip off well-intentioned individuals.
Ahead, here are eight reputable international organisations that are either on the ground or partnering with local charities to assist with the ongoing rescue and rebuilding efforts in Türkiye and Syria.
Organisations Helping Türkiye & Syria
World Vision is aiming to raise $25 million USD to help distribute hygiene supplies, clean water, shelter, heating, child protection services and food sources. Its teams are on the ground, working directly to support children and families in emergency shelters.
This emergency appeal is a continuation of its decades-long work and will continue to support Turkish people and Syrians in the aftermath as well. Their urgent assistance includes shelter kits, clean water, hygiene supplies and school supplies to help students continue their education as soon as possible.
The Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) emergency medical teams have been treating patients since the initial hours after the earthquakes. Donations will help with the supply of medical necessities, blankets, mattresses, trauma and emergency kits, as well as the continuation of services, including mental health consultations and emergency treatment.
Care Australia, an organisation that supports women in poverty, is raising funds to provide emergency aid. Donations will go towards food, tents, drinking water, baby items, warm clothing and mattresses as immediate priorities.
Oxfam is pairing with local partners to provide resources as part of around-the-clock support. Essential commodities include sanitation facilities, temporary shelters, clean drinking water and meals for those in need across the two countries.
The international charity for girls' equality is working with the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and International Medical Corps (IMC) for the immediate delivery of urgent aid. This includes supplying crucial medications, medical supplies, cholera kits, mobile medical units, food and essential items.
The organisation is helping provide women and their families with shelter, medical aid, food, cash and heat sources. ActionAid is partnering with local organisations to continue assessing the damage and required essentials.
Save the Children is working with the Turkish Red Crescent and Support to Life to distribute clothing, heat sources, blankets, tents and hygiene kits in Türkiye. Its Children Emergency Fund will also support tents, winterisation kits and fuel for health centres to continue operating in Syria.