It will be a long, hard road to repair, recover, and resolve what has been destroyed by a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake near the Turkish city of Gaziantep. An enormous international rescue effort is underway: Turkey has dispatched nearly 100,000 Turkish and foreign workers and an equal number of tents, not to mention vehicles like excavators, tow trucks, and cranes. Aftershocks triggered additional building collapses and fires; freezing temperatures have left millions pleading for aid. It is a heartbreaking exercise to continually edit the increasing death toll, which has already surpassed 46,000.
The many images — of a newborn baby (found attached by umbilical cord to its mother); of a father holding hands with a daughter trapped under rubble; of a family of seven being pulled out of the debris to a cheering crowd — are relentless, astounding, remarkable, tragic. They're hard to look and unfathomable to imagine living through.
So, what can we do? Give. Share. Donate. Honor. And educate ourselves on the people and organizations doing extraordinary work during extraordinary times.
The U.S. nonprofit Turkish Philanthropy Funds, currently engaged in rescue efforts and establishing longer-term support, has set up the Turkiye Earthquake Relief Fund to raise and distribute funds quickly and with low overhead to on-the-ground partners. Many Turkish friends have pointed us toward this org.
If you are craving a connection that feels more grass roots, look to the number of campaigns on crowd-funding platforms from big name authors, activists, and intellectuals who are also providing personal stories and commentary. National security and anti-terrorism law scholar Khaled Beydoun has been posting images, stories, and announcements about the arrival of various lauded rescue teams from Japan, Korea, and Malaysia and points to fundraising initiatives on Launch Good. NYT journalist Raja Abdulrahim has been sharing quotes and personal stories from Syrian victims during this time.
Get to know independent humanitarian NGO Maram Foundation, which was formed by Syrian-Americans to provide relief to Syrian refugees. Based in Texas with headquarters in Gaziantep, Turkey, they have 250 skilled aid workers in different locations in northwest Syria providing protection and humanitarian assistance to millions of people who have fled their homes.
Here's a list of vetted relief organizations from The New York Times. Check out a list from PBS that includes organizations doing long-term work in northwestern Syria, a place of limited infrastructure and displacement because of years of armed conflict.