When such tragedy occurs, the world rallies round to help and, in this case, the need is particularly great. North-west Syria is home to the world’s largest population of refugees, with some 4.1 million people, mostly women and children, reliant on humanitarian aid as a result of the civil war. Before the earthquakes struck, they were already struggling to cope with heavy rain and snow over the weekend and an outbreak of cholera.
Meanwhile in Türkiye, where some 3.6 million Syrians have sought refuge, the government yesterday declared a state of emergency in the ten worst-affected provinces for three months, a sign of just how much damage has been done. Horrific stories have emerged of people trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings calling out for help to no avail. One man, Deniz, in Hatay province, told Reuters: “They’re making noises, but nobody is coming… They’re calling out. They’re saying, ‘Save us’, but we can’t save them. How are we going to save them?”
Turkish rescuers and Syria’s famous ‘White Helmets’ are doing what they can and international teams are also responding, while a host of charitable appeals have been launched, including by the Red Cross/Red Crescent, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Unicef. However the World Health Organisation has warned that the death toll is likely to rise amid a race against time to rescue survivors.
So, if you can afford to make a donation, you might save someone’s life.