posted on 2/16/2023

Urgent Action: Supporting the Victims of Earthquakes in Turkey & Syria

By Alex Grossman & Elsa Saade

Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism

On February 6, 2023, a series of violent earthquakes struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria. At the time of writing, more than 36,000 people have died, and over 3,000 buildings have collapsed. It’s hard to estimate how many more people are buried underneath the rubble.

Here at Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism, we stand in solidarity with all those affected by the earthquakes and call for conscious and equitable funding without bias or discrimination. In Turkey, LGBTQ folks are scared to go to general shelters in fear of being harassed. Syrians and Kurds are also being thrown out of camps solely because of their nationalities or identities. In Syria, international rescue teams and aid have been blocked as a result of sanctions and the Syrian government’s inhumane decisions, leaving only local civilian-led initiatives leading rescue groups or providing shelter and basic needs for victims. Women and LGBTQ+ needs have also been deprioritized in the face of the general humanitarian needs, rendering access to reproductive health services or specific support to women and LGBTQ communities extremely low.

Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism has been working with our networks in the region to quickly get resources to those in need. Below are a few of the grants we’ve made in recent days to support those on the ground.

Support for the LGBTQI+ Community

The earthquakes in Turkey and Syria particularly affected regions inhabited by millions of minority groups, including LGBTQI+ communities, and government rescue and aid have been sparse and delayed. So far, we have supported at least four organizations that work with LGBTQI+ communities in the affected regions who are still awaiting rescue or cannot easily access medical care or family support because of LGBTQI+ phobia. Funds will be used to support affected LGBTQI+ activists with relocation, housing, medical treatments, and psychosocial support.

Emergency Support for Feminist Media Advocates

We have also been able to support an organization that utilizes media as a tool for feminist social change and supports women human rights defenders and journalists within the media sector. After the earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria, their community and team in northwest Syria and southern Turkey are in urgent need of emergency support. Funds will be used for housing, clothing, food, and medical support.

We are in touch with many more groups who are on the margins and who are still requiring support.

For those who would like to make a donation to help those impacted by the earthquakes, please consider checking out this list, and/or giving to the following campaigns:



If you would like to support UAF’s ability to respond to crises, such as this one in Turkey and Syria, please consider making a donation to our Crisis Response Fund. This Fund allows us to provide flexible grants to activists to meet humanitarian, collective care, or survival needs outside of our traditional Rapid Response Grants model. It also enables us to provide peer and network funding support to in-country and regional hubs that can further support feminist activists groups, particularly those from and advocating for marginalized communities.


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Chinyere Ezie



Chinyere Ezie is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she advocates for racial justice, gender justice, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) rights, and challenges governmental abuses of power. Chinyere previously worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center where she brought cases defending the rights of LGBTQI+ Southerners. She also served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she litigated employment discrimination cases and secured a $5.1 million jury verdict on behalf of workers subjected to unlawful treatment. Chinyere is a William J. Fulbright Scholar, a White House Fellows Program Regional Panelist, and a cum laude graduate of Yale University. She also received a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, where she was an Alexander Hamilton Scholar and served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Gender and Law. Chinyere serves on the Board of Directors of the Transgender Law Center and the feminist grant-making organization the Urgent Action Fund. She was also a Founding Board Member of the National Trans Bar Association.In 2018, she was named one of the nation’s Best LGBTQI+ Lawyers Under 40.