Appeal for Turkey-Syria earthquake rescue efforts reaches £50m


he aid effort to rescue and support victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake has raised more than £50 million in two days.

The death toll from the disaster, which happened in the early hours of February 6, has now exceeded 25,000 – with thousands more left injured or homeless.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which brings together 15 leading UK aid charities says its appeal has raised £52.8 million in two days – including £5 million in aid match from the UK Government.

Freezing conditions, with temperatures dropping below zero overnight, are affecting those who have lost their homes, and tremors were still being felt in the area on Saturday morning.

UK-based charity RE:ACT said on Saturday afternoon it is sending three more teams to help the Turkish relief effort

The highly skilled volunteers will arrive in the badly affected town of Islahiye on Sunday morning.

They are expected to work alongside Turkish and United Nations staff to help with the safe disposal of bodies and removal of rubble.

RE:ACT’s chief executive Toby Wicks said he expects the responders to be in the region for up to six weeks, adding: “They will do whatever it takes to help those poor people affected by the earthquake.”

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the British public for their hugely generous response to this horrific disaster.

“It’s impossible not to see the images on TV and hear the stories coming from Turkey and Syria and not be moved.

“Compassion comes in many forms, but we are urging people to donate money rather than things.

“What people in Turkey and Syria need today may not be what they need tomorrow and giving cash means that DEC charities can get help to people quickly and provide a wide range of support over a longer period of time.”

Work being carried out includes NGO Violet, an ActionAid partner charity, rescuing a young girl trapped in rubble in north-west Syria after being trapped for more than 36 hours.

The girl is said to have asked rescuers to go home before remembering her house had been destroyed.

In Turkey, CARE International has been distributing winter clothes, blankets, generators, food and drinking water. In Syria, it will be using DEC funding to distribute stocks of essential items including tents and blankets provided by the UK Government.

The International Rescue Committee is working with partners to support hospitals and other healthcare services as well as providing household items to the injured and homeless.

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