Rescue groups have been working around the clock in an effort to find survivors after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Syria and Turkiye (Turkey) early Monday morning. The death toll has risen to over 7,700 across both countries, AP reports. Multiple aftershocks, including a 5.7 temblor have created a dangerous situation for rescuers looking for survivors.
An estimated total of 23 million could be affected throughout the entire region hit by the quake, according to Adelheid Marschang, a senior emergencies officer with the World Health Organization, saying it’s a “crisis on top of multiple crises.”
As the hospitality community reacts to the unfolding reports of devastation, Smart Meetings gathered initial reports about what is happening and what you can do to support organizations around the world offering immediate crisis relief.
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The latest releases by the government of Turkiye shows that at least 3,381 people have died and another 20,000 have sustained injuries as a result of the pre-dawn quake. The epicenter of the quake near the southern city of Gaziantep where nearly 6,000 structures have collapsed, according to Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that an estimated 18 million of the country’s 85 million citizens have been affected with a state of emergency declared in 10 provinces. Approximately 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels.
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The death toll in the region of Syria currently held by the Syrian government has reached 812 with another 1,400 injured, according to the country’s health minister. In the rebel-held northwestern region of Syria, roughly 1,020 people have died with another 2,300 injured. The devastation in Syria left in the wake of the quake was compounded by the U.N. losing access to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, which is one of the only terminals the U.N. is permitted to use to reach the rebel-held territory, due to damage. Turkiye is home to millions of refugees from that conflict.
The region sits atop major fault lines and is known for frequent earthquakes. Northwestern Turkey was hit by a massive quake in 1999 that left 18,000 dead.
How to Help
Local Marriott hotels in the area have already begun creating tents equipped with mobile kitchens, volunteer chefs, and supplies from local vendors to get food and water where it is needed most, according to a spokesperson. They are also collecting necessities like food, blankets, towels, hygiene supplies, and tents and will donate these items to local organizations working in the impacted areas, as well as organizing blood drives. The company’s Marriott Disaster Relief Fund is providing funds to four organizations working on the ground: World Central Kitchen, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee and UNICEF. Marriott will also encourage its community of Marriott Bonvoy members to donate points to any of these organizations. Marriott is also working with local teams to assess the impact on associates and their families and will be leveraging our Marriott Disaster Relief Fund to provide support as needed.
For individuals interested in supporting the people impacted by the earthquakes, these international organizations are accepting donations:
- Project Hope, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare nonprofit, set a $75,000 goal to help the affected region and also accepts tax-deductible cryptocurrency donations.
- International Rescue Committee is temporarily doubling monthly donations that will support emergency kits, temporary shelter and mobile clinics.
- Molham Team, a Jordanian-based refugee aid group founded by university students, has launched a “Earthquake Response” campaign.
- Oxfam, a U.K.-based poverty-relief organization, is raising funds with local partner organizations for individuals impacted by the earthquakes.
- Concern Worldwide US, based in New York City, is opening a community center deemed safe for families as the cold weather worsens.
- Doctors Without Borders is raising funds to support the influx of medical needs.
- The White Helmets, Syria civil defense volunteers who provide emergency response in the area’s ongoing conflict, is seeking to support the 3,000 volunteers searching for survivors among the collapsed buildings.
- Zakat Foundation of America, a Bridgeview, Illinois-based group conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 50 countries. They are distributing food, medical supplies, hygiene kits, tents and mats.