DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKES IN TURKEY AND SYRIA: HOW YOU CAN HELP

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Abra Stalker

The recent earthquake devastates those in Turkey and Syria.

On Feb. 6, 2023, the ground in Turkey and Syria started to shake. Residents in these countries were left confused and had little time to react and find shelter. The earthquake began at around 4 a.m., lasting several minutes. When people finally began recovering from the shock, nine hours later they were hit by another one. After what seemed like forever, the ground stopped shaking and the people were left to see the rubble behind. 

 

As of Feb. 27, over 50,313 people were found dead and at least 2.4 million people displaced. Turkey’s President Erodogan declared a three month state of emergency in ten of the country’s provinces. Experts calculate the property damages of the earthquakes to be around $50-85 billion since over 6,589 buildings have been destroyed. People in Turkey and Syria are left without a home and place to stay in the middle of winter. Due to these conditions, residents, especially children, are at a high risk of hypothermia with no access to medical care. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says around 7.1 million children are affected with no schools or homes to return to. Because of the high death toll, many children are struggling alone without their family. 

 

As the people of Turkey and Syria struggle to get back to daily life, people from all around the globe pitch in to help. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 26 million people need help getting back on their feet just from the earthquake. Living in the USA, we should be grateful to have basic necessities accessible to us and it is only fair that we give back and help our brothers and sisters in other struggling countries. Below, you will find descriptions as well as links to organizations that provide relief services to the people affected by the earthquakes. 

 

UNICEF is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides assistance to children and families by working with the government to provide basic necessities, child protection services, education, and so much more. Due to the short supply of clean water, UNICEF is working hard to make sure every child has water, and also ensures all children are found and able to reconnect with their families. 

You can donate to this amazing organization through this link.

 

Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization that provides humanitarian assistance to those in Syria. Currently, the SAMS’ healthcare team is working on providing medical care for those wounded by the earthquake. So far with the help of generous donors they have been able to care for more than 3,000 victims. Due to the overwhelming number of patients at SAMS hospitals in Syria, they urge people to come forward and donate in order to access trauma supplies so they are able to help as many people as possible.

You can make a donation to SAMS through this link.

 

Direct Relief is a non-profit humanitarian organization that hopes to improve the lives of people all over the world. They focus not only on the health of individuals, but also the health of the community as a whole and putting practices in place to decrease the risk of getting sick. 

Every dollar helps Direct Relief provide care. 

 

Saifan Chowdrey, an IB sophomore here at Seminole High School (SHS), speaks out about the situation in Turkey and Syria by saying: “What’s happening in Turkey and Syria is truly a tragedy. The people of Syria have already been through so much and the least we can do is help them out. It’s one thing to post on social media about the situation and another to actually go out and do something.” 

 

Another SHS student also weighs in on this current event. IB sophomore Manasvi Ballamudi states: “I think the best thing we can do to help the citizens of those countries is not only to donate, but research the organization you are donating to. A lot of the organizations that we may donate to use more than half the money for profit and not actually on the people they raised them for. Even though we may not be able to be on the front lines helping, we can make sure our money is going to those we need help and take extra time off of our day to research the organizations we donate to.” 

 

Researching where the money goes to in an organization is crucial to ensure as much as your donation goes towards your cause. As we continue our daily lives, let’s not forget the lives of those in Syria and Turkey craving for a sense of routine. No donation is too small, as every dollar helps a child in the Middle East dream of a better future.