Fundraisers start for victims of Turkey/Syria earthquakes; Dutch send 65 to search rubble
The Dutch branch of the Red Cross has launched a fundraising campaign to provide aid and relief to the victims of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Monday. The organization opened the Giro 7244 campaign has been for this purpose. By 1:45 p.m., some 1,014 people were reported dead in Turkey, with about 5,400 injuries. So far, a total of 9,000 rescue workers are present in Turkey searching for survivors, and 2,470 people were rescued from the rubble alive.
Two major earthquakes, measuring 7.8 and 7.5, hit near the city of Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey on Monday. The quakes affected a massive area including large cities where many people live. After the first quake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reported 912 deaths and over 5,000 wounded in his country, calling the quakes the "worst disaster since 1939." Many people are still missing in southeastern Turkey, and there are victims across its border with Syria, where about 600 deaths have been reported thus far.
The Red Cross is among the organizations helping to get people out of the rubble and provide first aid. They are also staffing ambulances and transporting people to hospital. The organization also shelters people who have lost their homes, providing blankets, tents, catering and mobile kitchens.
The earthquakes have hit at least ten provinces in Turkey and in Syria buildings collapsed in Hama, Aleppo, Latakia and Tartous, among others, the Red Cross reports. Since it is currently very cold in the region, there is snow in many places and there are heavy storms, it is difficult to get relief teams and goods on location.
Dutch-Turkish community activists in the Netherlands are also launching a fundraiser for those affected by the severe earthquakes in the southeast of Turkey. Many Turkish-Dutch are very concerned about their friends and family in Turkey, said Mustafa Ayranci, chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Association in the Netherlands (HTIB). The organization will start collecting money as soon as possible.
“We are now looking at what we can do in the short term with other organizations. We want to collect money so that things can be bought there that are needed.” According to the chair, the earthquake, which killed thousands of people in Turkey and Syria, the Dutch-Turkish association in the Netherlands was extremely concerned. “I just spoke to someone originally from Pazarcik whose relatives are under the rubble. Another said that his two brothers are missing in Iskenderun.”
The Netherlands is sending a Dutch Search and Rescue Team (USAR) to help search for survivors. A cargo plane with the necessary equipment will depart from Eindhoven Airport at the end of Monday afternoon. The USAR team, consisting of 65 people and eight rescue dogs, will follow a short time later. The team includes people from the police, military, fire brigade, and ambulance services trained to find and help people trapped or buried after disasters or accidents.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Dutch people in the affected area of Turkey to register on the MInistry’s information service to stay informed of the latest developments. The Ministry also opened a live blog with updates.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times