Helping people affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria will require both quick cash and long-term support.
That’s according to a spokesperson for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, who shared recommendations with MarketWatch on how to help in the aftermath of the quake, which had killed more than 4,000 and injured more than 12,000 people as of Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.
As rescuers try to free people trapped in rubble, it’s most effective to send cash to groups working directly in the affected areas, said CDP’s Kristina Moore.
“Give cash,” Moore said. “Cash allows on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the most significant area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management does not detract from disaster recovery needs.”
In other words, sending supplies like bottled water and clothes to a disaster area can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help, especially if groups haven’t specifically requested such supplies.
Cash allows “families to purchase items and services that address their multiple needs” and helps “move families faster toward rebuilding their lives,” Moore said.
Recovery from the quake is complicated by the ongoing civil war in Syria. Getting aid to affected Syrians “is likely to be more difficult, considering the country is not controlled by one authority,” CDP wrote in a blog post.
To help Syrians in particular, donate to “vetted humanitarian NGO partners that support Syria’s 2022-2023 Humanitarian Crisis Plan,” Moore said. Also consider supporting groups working to develop civil society in Syria.
“We believe that recovery is possible in protracted and complex crisis settings,” Moore said. “We know that people who have been affected by shocks in complex humanitarian contexts can recover, improve their situation and build their resilience to withstand future shocks without waiting until the crisis is over, which may take years.”
Here are some relief efforts for the Turkey/Syria earthquake:
Médecins San Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders
The medical relief group lost one of its own staff members in the quake. It is treating wounded people and providing medical kits, according to its website. “The needs are very high in northwest Syria as this quake adds a dramatic layer for the vulnerable people here who are still struggling after many years of war,” said Sebastien Gay, MSF’s head of mission in Syria. “The massive consequences of this disaster will require an international aid effort that is up to the scale.”
The Turkish Embassy in the U.S. is collecting cash donations in a U.S. bank account, it said on Twitter.
A spokesman confirmed to MarketWatch that the public is invited to donate directly to the account. They can also bring cold-weather supplies such as blankets, sleeping bags and pocket warmers to Turkish consulates throughout the U.S. The donations will be shipped to affected areas by Turkish Airlines, embassy officials said on Twitter.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Society
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have deployed aid teams in the area, and the IFRC has launched two separate fundraising appeals for Turkey and Syria. “The solidarity and support following this devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria is heartwarming. At this stage, we are asking everyone who wants to send a donation to contact their local Red Cross or Red Crescent Society,” an IFRC spokeswoman told MarketWatch. “They will make sure that people receive the kind of help they need.”
Global Giving is aiming to raise $5 million to help Turkey and Syria recover. “Initially, the fund helps first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, medicine and shelter. As needs evolve, we will prioritize longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations in the impacted areas,” Global Giving said on its website. Global Giving partners with nonprofits around the world and has a four-star rating from the charity evaluator Charity Navigator.
Go local and think long-term
When donating cash to a large international group, try to prioritize one that will “empower local and national stakeholders,” Moore said. To find ones that do this, you can ask the nonprofit directly, or look at the group’s website, annual reports or values statement. Check to see if their publicly listed projects, programs and partners include national organizations, and check whether they are signatories to humanitarian aid agreements such as Charter of Change, Grand Bargain or Core Humanitarian Standards, she suggested.
Also important: remember that your help will be needed in the months and years to come. “Take the long view. It will take some time for the full range of needs to emerge after a disaster,” Moore said. “Recovery will take a long time and while recovery efforts can begin immediately, funding will be needed throughout.”