Charity sector steps up to support Turkey and Syria earthquake victims

This week’s devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have claimed the lives of more than 15,000 people and rescue efforts are continuing.

Survivors have been left homeless and hungry, searching for food and shelter in the region's cold winter temperatures.

The UK charity sector has joined international efforts to support impacted communities. Here we round up some of the main fundraising action being taken so far and the issues the public needs to be aware of when giving.

Disasters Emergency Committee

Charity sector collaboration the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched it’s appeal to support charities and local organisations working in the area to provide urgent help.

“Immediate priorities are search and rescue, medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, heating in safe spaces, blankets, warm clothes, and ensuring people have food and clean water,” says the DEC.

It is stressing that £10 can provide blankets to keep two people warm, while £20 can provide emergency food to a family for ten days.

DEC member charities include Oxfam, Tearfund, Actionaid and Action Against Hunger.

Match funding

The UK government has pledged to match fund up to £5m in public donations to this appeal. This is part of a match funding promise for DEC initiatives that has also included donating £5m to the Pakistan floods appeal and £25m to the Ukraine humanitarian appeal.

Match funding platform Big Give, which works with philanthropic partners to double donations, is also backing the DEC campaign. It has pledged to match fund all donations to the DEC Turkey and Syrai appeal donated through Big Give.

“The situation in Turkey and Syria is desperate and we want to really maximise the contribution of people’s generosity,” said Big Give managing director Alex Day.

‘Give safely’

Regulators the Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator have launched a campaign urging people to ‘give safely’ to the global aid efforts in response to the disaster in Turkey and Syria.

They are urging people to ensure the charities they are donating to are on the charity register and committed to ethical fundraising. This can be found through the Fundraising Badge logo and the regulator’s directory.

They stress that while most charity appeals are genuine, criminals can take advantage of people’s generosity by posing as charities. This includes fake appeal websites and email campaigning falsely using the name of genuine charities or claiming to be charities.

“The impacts of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria are shocking and devastating. Charities are once again stepping in to support those in need, said Charity Commission chief executive Helen Stephenson.

“I know that so many people across the UK will want to contribute and so I want to ensure every donation reaches its intended cause. This is why we are reminding everyone to give through the DEC or follow our simple steps, such as checking our online register, to make sure they’re giving safely.

Fundraising regulator CEO Gerald Oppenheim added: “The situation following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria is horrifying to witness, and thousands have lost their lives or have been injured.

“The British public are generous and will be eager to support the relief work led by the DEC and its member charities where they can.

“Please carry out our recommended checks before donating money or goods to make sure you are giving to a genuine cause and that your generously donated money reaches its intended destination.”

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