UK charities launch DEC emergency appeal

Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched an appeal to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by an earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

British aid organizations – including the British Red Cross, Oxfam and ActionAid – are joining forces to raise money.

The money will go to medical aid, emergency shelter, food and clean water after the earthquake left thousands injured.

More than 11,000 people have died, and that number is expected to rise.

Thousands of buildings have been destroyed in the disaster and aid workers have searched the rubble for survivors. Many people have lost their homes, leaving them without shelter in frigid winter conditions, the DEC says.

In Syria, some people who already lived in tents after fleeing the conflict in the country now live those whose homes were destroyed by the earthquake.

The charities say access to clean water will be difficult in the coming days and will carry the risk of waterborne illness.

The UK government will match the first £5 million in donations from the public. The money raised will also provide blankets, warm clothing and heaters for safe areas.

DEC chief Saleh Saeed described the scenes in Turkey and Syria as “heartbreaking”, with thousands of “loved ones suddenly lost in the most shocking ways”.

He said: “We know that money is scarce for many people here in the UK as the cost of living continues, but if you can please donate to support people caught up in this deadly disaster.”

Salah Aboulgasem, from the Islamic Relief charity, based in Gazientep, Turkey, added: “The priority right now is saving lives by clearing the rubble. The next priority is supporting people who have lost their homes and experienced tremendous trauma.

“People need medicine and heat. There is a lot of yelling, people are trying to find relatives. Many people sleep in cars because aftershocks make them afraid to go back into the buildings.”

Map showing the location of the two earthquakes in Turkey

Map showing the location of the two earthquakes in Turkey

Fourteen of the DEC’s 15 members are either responding, or plan to respond, in Turkey and Syria and will receive funding for the call.

The DEC has previously launched similar appeals to raise money for flood victims in Pakistan and for Ukrainians displaced by the war with Russia.

The appeal will be broadcast on Thursday evenings on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky.

What is the DEC?

  • The committee brings together 15 of the UK’s leading charities to offer and deliver assistance to ensure appeals are successful

  • The charities are Oxfam, Save the Children UK, Age International, British Red Cross, Cafod, Christian Aid and Islamic Relief

  • The website provides more information about current calls

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