The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey killed thousands, wounded thousands more, and destroyed homes and buildings. Here are some ways you can help survivors of this unfathomable humanitarian disaster.
The humanitarian disaster that has arisen from the most powerful earthquake to hit Syria and Turkey in almost a century is unimaginable. A week after the quake hit, the death toll has topped 34,000, despite the ongoing efforts of the many organizations that are trying to assist in the rescue, recovery and relief efforts in these two hard-hit countries.
Meeting and event professionals, like most U.S. citizens, want to do what they can to help the victims of this humanitarian disaster, both on their own account and on behalf of their organizations. Unfortunately, the bigger the disaster, the bigger the temptation is for fraudsters to try to dupe potential donators. So, the first thing on your due-diligence list, especially if the organization you want to donate to is not well-known, should be to check to make sure the organization is legit by looking them up on sites including Charity Navigator and Guidestar. These sites do the legwork for you, checking up on non-profits and grading them on things like transparency and effectiveness.
Here are a few organizations supporting earthquake disaster relief to victims in Turkey and Syria that you may want to put on your list:
UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) is already on the scene. Among the services it is prioritizing at this point are providing water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and working to reunite displaced children with their families.
Global Giving is working with local nonprofit agencies in their efforts to enable emergency medical workers to provide food, shelter, medicine and other essentials.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is requesting donations to its Disaster Response Emergency Fund so it can provide “immediate cash assistance” to those in need.
OXFAM is coordinating with women’s cooperatives in Turkey to work out the best way to provide both immediate and longer term assistance.
Donations to CARE’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Fund will help provide food, shelter, hygiene kits and other necessities.
Project Hope is using donations to fund emergency response teams to the worst-hit areas.
Save the Children’s Children’s Emergency Fund is collecting donations to help provide kids with food, shelter and warm clothing to help them survive the freezing temperatures in the area that are making the humanitarian crisis even more dire.
The Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI) is suggesting its members consider donating to the JustGiving platform, which is used by many NGOs, including the Turkey Mozaik Foundation, which currently is working to “identify local grantee organizations with the most desperate and impactful short-term needs” to support with the funds it raises.
Doctors Without Borders is collecting donations to help it respond to medical emergencies in the area, as well as globally.
The Syrian American Medical Society, which focuses on providing medical care in Syria and other countries in the region from its base in the U.S., is soliciting donations to help with emergency medical aid.
Another option some planners with events happening in the near future may want to consider is supporting blood drives to benefit the earthquake victims. According to Global Citizen, blood reserves in Turkey fell under the minimum 50,000 units in January. If you have an event happening in Turkey, you can actually set up a blood drive directly via the Turkish Red Crescent. For those whose events are happening elsewhere, a cash donation also would be welcome.
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