A 7.8-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks hit Türkiye and Syria beginning on Monday, February 6, 2023.
The natural disaster has killed more than 35,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless in both countries. Those numbers are expected to keep rising. The World Health Organization warned that many survivors of the disaster could face “a secondary disaster,” as cold and snow lead to worsening and horrific conditions. In the aftermath, community members and organizations have stepped up to support each other through mutual aid networks, impromptu donation drop offs, and more.
“The scale of devastation after the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria is almost unimaginable. Michelle and I are thinking of the thousands of people who have been affected, including Syrian refugees.” —President Obama
At the Obama Foundation, our mission is to inspire, empower, and connect people to create change. That work always requires action, and right now, many of the leaders we work with are on the front lines of humanitarian response efforts.
Changemakers like Obama Scholar Wael Habbal, alongside Leaders Europe program participants Rudi Osman and Farhad Shamo Roto, have teamed up to respond. Together with their organizations, the Syrian and Greek Youth Forum, Union of Exiled Students (UEE), and Voice of Ezidis, respectively, the trio have brought attention to the acute needs in northern Syria, which has been even more severely impacted by the earthquake “due to war, government inaction, and compounded crises.”
One of the organizations they recommend supporting is the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Foundation Opens in a new tab.
“Our hearts break for the thousands of lives lost in this disaster, and for the survivors who are grieving, and we call on all governments and parties to respond quickly and with compassion to this devastating humanitarian disaster.” —Wael, Rudi, and Farhad; Obama Foundation Leaders
2018 Fellow Zarlasht Halamzai is also responding. Her organization, Amna Opens in a new tab, is providing trauma care to families and children who have already been through so much in their home countries, ensuring they have the support they need to get through the current disaster. In Turkey, 2022 Europe Leader Zafer Elcik and his organization, Otsimo Opens in a new tab, have already donated 30,000 hot meals to families in need, and their staff has joined relief efforts in the area. Otsimo is also working with local autism organizations to provide the app for free in the region, and they are helping educate families and volunteers serving children with special needs.
The additional resources below are currently accepting donations to provide medical and hygiene kits, food, shelter, and more to those in need. As recovery efforts continue, we hope you’ll follow the example our inspiring leaders have set, and take action to help the people and communities whose lives have been upended by the earthquake.
CARE is an international humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, world hunger, and social justice by working alongside women and girls. Their services include swift delivery of blankets, food, mattresses, tents, and other essential items to people in need. Donate now Opens in a new tab.
Direct Relief is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides global emergency medical assistance and disaster relief. The organization is currently connecting with medical responders in the region who are leading search and rescue missions on the ground. Donate now Opens in a new tab.
Global Giving is a nonprofit that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world. They are providing emergency relief such as food, fuel, clean water, medicine and shelter, and helping fuel long-term recovery efforts in the region. Donate now Opens in a new tab.
GoFundme is an American for-profit crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money for a range of life events including natural disasters. They are currently accepting donations for earthquake relief. Donate now Opens in a new tab.