Urgent Action: Supporting the Victims of Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
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 UAF 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 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 has 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:
- Ahbap: AHBAP Platform is a voluntary network working for disaster emergency, they are active in the affected regions: https://ahbap.org/bagisci-ol
- AFAD is Turkey’s official Disaster and Emergency Management Organization. They are running a campaign: https://en.afad.gov.tr/earthquake-donation-accounts
- Turkish Philanthropy Funds started an Earthquake Relief Fund: https://donate.tpfund.org/give/161251/#!/donation/checkout
- Hayata Destek / Support to Life – Turkish independent humanitarian organization especially working for emergency assistance and refugee support: https://www.supporttolife.org/donate/
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.