Turkey-Syria earthquake: How to donate and how companies are responding

The earthquakes along the Turkey-Syria border has devastated the lives of millions of people, but these companies are trying to help — and you can too.
John Loeffler
Malatya, Türkiye destroyed building
Destroyed apartment building in Malatya, Türkiye

dia images/GettyImages  

In the early morning hours of Monday, February 6, 2023, a devastating earthquake struck the Turkey-Syria border, causing catastrophic damage across a wide region and more than 20,000 confirmed fatalities so far — a number that is expected to grow considerably as rescue operations turn to the recovery of remains trapped under an almost incomprehensible amount of debris and rubble.

Companies providing financial help

Companies, philanthropists, and aid organizations from around the world sprang into action soon after news of the earthquake spread to supply assistance to the beleaguered region with donations of food, medicine, and other vital supplies to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts.

On February 8, the insurance company Allianz announced it had donated 6 million euros for earthquake relief and recovery. The same day, the parent company of Zara, Pull&Bear, and Massimo Dutti, Inditex, donated 3 million euros to the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) for the humanitarian emergency in Türkiye and Syria.

According to CNN, Amazon has announced it has activated a planned distribution of disaster relief, including baby food, blankets, medical supplies, and tents, among other items, from its main fulfillment center located in Turkey's capital.

“This immediate delivery is just the beginning of Amazon’s response,” Abe Diaz, head of Amazon’s disaster relief program, said in a statement provided to CNN.

“Over the coming days, we’ll work with local organizations and disaster-relief groups to identify on-the-ground needs and use Amazon’s logistics and delivery network to meet them.”

Other companies stepped forward as well with offers of aid, including Apple's Tim Cook, the Turkish-born founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, Starbucks, The Fraport Group, and Fierce Pharma.

Several companies within Turkey have stepped up the call to action. Hepsiburada, Getir, YemekSepeti, Trendyol, and LC Waikiki are all making it possible to quickly and easily set up care packages of food, clothing, and supplies to be delivered to the affected zones.

Turkish rock star Haluk Levent has also played an important role in rallying support. He has helped to raise over $2 million in cryptocurrencies through his foundation Ahbap (listed below) as of February 7.

How you can help

If you'd like to donate to rescue and relief efforts in the region affected by Monday's earthquake, there are a number of NGOs and relief organizations on the ground that are in desperate need of donations to help their efforts. Due to weather conditions and damage to roads and infrastructure, getting aid out quickly has proven difficult – showing just how important it is for these efforts to be coordinated.

  • AHBAP: A local non-governmental organization with over 30 thousand members actively supporting people and regions in need. They have gotten aid out quickly and effectively.
  • AKUT: Search and Rescue Association is another Turkish NGO for disaster search and rescue relief. They are fully transparent about how they spend the donations they receive. As of February 10, AKUT had evacuated 330 citizens with our 30 teams, 776 of them on the field and more than 1000 volunteers, more than 300 of whom are at desks, 59 vehicles, and 4 dogs.
  • AFAD: Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency. The Turkish government's official aid organization.
  • Turkish Earthquake Relief Fund: a relief fund sponsored by the Turkish Philanthropy Fund.
  • Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations: Providing urgent medical aid and relief to Turkey and Syria.
  • Kızılay: Turkish Red Crescent: The largest not-for-profit humanitarian organization in Turkey.
  • The White Helmets:  providing life-saving support to victims in Syria.
  • Syrian American Medical Society: A global medical relief organization providing vital assistance to save lives and support the victims of the earthquake.
  • Turkey Mozaik Foundation: U.K.-based foundation who have launched the Kahramanmaras Emergency Relief Fund to help survivors from the Gaziantep/Kahramanmas region recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake. As of February 10, they have raised over 830,000 pounds.
  • Haytap: An animal aid organization trying to rescue people and animals from the impacted area.

Why Monday's earthquake in Turkey and Syria was so deadly

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck along a major faultline between the Anatolian and Arabian plates at a relatively shallow point (about 18km beneath the surface), making its surface vibration incredibly destructive.

"The shaking at the ground surface will have been more severe than for a deeper earthquake of the same magnitude at source," David Rothery, a planetary geoscientist at the Open University in Britain, told Reuters.

Add to the fact that the earthquake struck when most people were at home, and the deadliness of this earthquake was inevitable.

There are many thousands of earthquakes on Earth every year, but most are so mild that they are only noticeable with seismological instruments. On average, fewer than 20 earthquakes a year are larger than 7.0 on the Richter scale, meaning that the sheer violence of this earthquake already set it apart.

What's more, the East Anatolian Fault, where the earthquake occurred, is a strike-slip fault. This means that the two sides of the fault are moving against each other laterally along a vertical fault line, which generates a large amount of tension that gets released during the earthquake producing a much greater movement of land and lateral shaking of structures that can collapse.