Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: The Welsh Government is donating

A collapsed building in Sanliurfa, Turkey

More than 19,000 are known to have died due to magnitude 7.8 earthquakes

The Welsh government is donating £300,000 to victims of Monday’s deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

It has committed to the call of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) as the death toll reaches more than 19,000 people.

Millions of people are homeless in the freezing cold and urgently need blankets, emergency shelter, food and clean water.

The UK government adjusts the funds raised to £5,000,000.

Wales Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt offered her condolences to those who had lost loved ones and said her thoughts were also with Turkish and Syrian people in Wales who anxiously await news.

“The scale of the destruction is enormous and I would like to thank the brave search and rescue teams who continue to search through the rubble for survivors,” she said.

Five firefighters from the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been sent to Turkey to assist in search and rescue operations.

The team is equipped with specialized search equipment, including seismic listening devices, concrete cutting and breaking equipment, and shoring and support tools.

Welsh Government Minister Jane Hutt MS with members of the Turkish and Syrian communities in Wales

Welsh Government Minister Jane Hutt MS with members of the Turkish and Syrian communities in Wales as support discussed in the Senedd

‘My hometown has been wiped out’

Emir Cecen, a barista at Cafe Unwind in Newport, is from Adiyaman, Turkey, where the earthquake left his family homeless.

He helped fill a van with donations that left Newport on Tuesday.

He told Radio Wales Breakfast: “It’s a very difficult time.

“I woke up and got 20, 30 missed calls from friends, family, friends here.

“It was really devastating.”

He added: “My family is on the street. My mother sleeps in a school, together with my uncle, my aunt and my grandmother.

“My father is also outside in his car. My hometown is almost 80% wiped out and there are still a lot of people under the rubble.

“One of my close friends who lives here with me in Newport, his mother is also under the rubble. He has not been able to contact her and it has been so long.

“They really need everything that people can give and support them.”

Sian Stephen, external relations manager for Wales at DEC, told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “The scale of the disaster is huge.

“Fifteen thousand people lost their lives, many more injured and thousands of buildings collapsed.

“We know that there are 17,000,000 people in the affected area and people who survived this terrible experience need urgent help.

“We have heard that in northwestern Syria people are living in tents because they have been displaced by the war, now host families have lost their homes and many others are living in cars, but the freezing cold is hampering rescue efforts and also making it very dangerous for survivors .”

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