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DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal raises more than £13 million in Scotland, six months on from the disaster

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) today announced that more than £13 million has been raised for the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal here in Scotland, with more than £150 million now raised across the UK.

Two devastating earthquakes killed at least 58,000 people across southern Turkey (now known as Türkiye) and northwest Syria in early February.  Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes in freezing Winter weather and have since had to face floods and more recently extreme heat in southern Europe as the relief effort continues.

The generous response of the public has made this appeal the third largest in the organisation’s 60-year history and has enabled the DEC’s member charities, working alongside local responders to help tens of thousands of families start to recover and rebuild their lives.

Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, returned this week from visiting DEC-funded projects in Gaziantep, southern Turkey, where he met people affected by the earthquakes. They included Zeynep and Mehmet, whose farmhouse was destroyed in the earthquake and have received supermarket vouchers to help buy food and other essentials from DEC charity British Red Cross. 

Mr Saeed said:

“It was humbling to meet Zeynep and Mehmet and hear how they and their seven children had been trapped under the rubble. Thankfully they all survived, although Zeynep couldn’t walk for a month or so and the trauma they are suffering is evident. The whole family is living in a tent while they wait for their new home to be built and the conditions are very harsh.  When I visited last week, it was uncomfortably hot, about 41C, but when the earthquake struck the temperatures were freezing.   

DEC charities are working tirelessly to help people cope and make life more comfortable. From mobile physiotherapy clinics helping people recover from their injuries to psychological support for children, to providing hygiene and sanitation to avoid the spread of deadly diseases – this is vital, life-changing help.  

Your donations over the last six months have been remarkably generous and are helping DEC charities continue to address the people’s most pressing needs, on both sides of the border. It’s clear that it will be a very long road to recovery from this terrible disaster, but we met so many people in Türkiye who wanted us to thank the British public and all who have supported them through the DEC. Thank you to everyone who has donated, we are all incredibly grateful.” 

Syria is currently in its 12th year of civil war, with 60% of people in the region affected by the earthquakes already being displaced, many of them living in extreme hardship.  Using donations to the appeal, DEC charities and their local partners are delivering vital aid in both government and non-government-controlled areas of Syria, ensuring people have enough to eat, clean water to drink and safe places to stay.

Across both countries, over the first three months following the earthquake, almost half (46%) of aid expenditure went on providing cash payments to more than 40,000 of the families most in need.  Making direct payments via cash or vouchers is a very efficient way of delivering aid when local markets are functioning, reducing transport and administration costs and allowing people to choose how best to meet their personal needs – for example on food, medicine or rent.

In the first three months of the DEC response, across both countries:  

  • 40,300 households received cash or voucher payments to help meet their basic needs 
  • 427,000 people provided with access to safe drinking water  
  • 201,000 people received emergency food or a voucher for food  
  • 48,200 people accessed health services such as mobile clinics, medical kits, and free medication​​.

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