DEC faith organisations unite in support for earthquake survivors, as donations to DEC Cymru Turkey-Syria appeal reach £2.6 million in eight days
From the moment devastating earthquakes struck southern Turkey (now known as Türkiye) and north-west Syria, DEC faith-based charities and their partners have been working around the clock to meet emergency needs. At least 41,000 people have been killed, more than 100,000 have been injured, and 17 million affected.
Donations to the DEC’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal have reached £2.6m in Wales and £88.1 million at UK level in eight days, to support its member charities in providing lifesaving assistance for children and families in both Turkey and Syria. This figure includes £5 million matched by the UK Government through the UK Aid Match scheme and a £300,000 donation from the Welsh Government.
Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the DEC, said: “We’ve seen faith communities spring into action to support survivors, both in the UK and in the earthquake zone. In the UK millions of pounds have been raised and we know this support is already saving lives.
“Earthquakes do not discriminate between countries or people’s beliefs. Across the areas affected, places of worship have opened their doors to those in need, regardless of faith or nationality, to provide shelter, food, water and warm clothing.
“The DEC is grateful to people from all faiths – and none – who have so generously supported the DEC appeal and to all the mosques and churches for their support in Turkey, Syria and here in the UK”
DEC charity Tearfund’s partner in Aleppo is providing shelter, hot food, water and warm clothing for around 2,000 people.
Cynan Llwyd, Head of Tearfund Wales said:
"Tearfund's church partner in Aleppo opened up its buildings to offer life-saving shelter and support to thousands of people. We know how generous people of faith in Wales have been over the years and we urge them to continue supporting this appeal. The support of people of faith in Wales is truly life-saving. We also call on them to pray for the people of Syria and Turkey. We know that prayer makes a difference. We pray for the emergency response, for people affected by the earthquake, for our church partner and for peace."
DEC charity Christian Aid has been working with local partners across north-west Syria since 2012, in non-government-controlled areas which are under-resourced and underserved. There had already been an outbreak of cholera in that area, which could spread rapidly without clean drinking water.
The main needs have been winter kits containing items such as blankets, mattresses, warm clothing, food parcels and heating materials. Partners had already managed to buy £40,000 worth of winter kits with Christian Aid money and started distributing these immediately.
Nan Powell-Davies, Chair of the Christian Aid Wales National Committee, added:
“Our message is a simple one: we stand alongside people in times of struggle. We are hugely grateful for the generosity of people in Wales, and I would also encourage people of faith to pray. Pray for comfort and strength in the face of loss and pain, and for wisdom and courage in the decisions taken during the humanitarian response.
“We can demonstrate our solidarity with people in both countries who need our prayers and actions – every prayer, every gift, every action brings hope.”
DEC charity CAFOD has supported partners in Syria since the conflict 12 years ago, so its partners were already on the ground and able to respond immediately when the earthquake hit.
This has included providing shelter, food, water, warm blankets and winter kits to help people cope with freezing temperatures.
Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said:
“The people of Syria have been tormented by war for over a decade. Families had already lost so much, many had lost their homes, their livelihoods and their loved ones. To then suffer an earthquake, after already facing so much is heart-breaking.
“It is vital that we remember in our prayers all the victims of this devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, and I pray that the people of people of Syria can rebuild their lives and finally find peace and safety. We pray also for our local partners, Syrian people, who are giving so much of their time and dedication during these difficult times.”
DEC charity Islamic Relief Worldwide says the impact of these earthquakes has been devastating and will impact lives for generations to come.
Waseem Ahmed, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, said:
“Within hours of the earthquakes striking, Islamic Relief teams in Türkiye and Syria responded. They have been working around the clock, providing support and relief to many families.
“Across Syria and Türkiye, people are facing their darkest hours of suffering and hardship. In these difficult times we lean on our faith for the strength so desperately needed and pray that Allah will have mercy upon all those impacted. I am extremely grateful for the huge outpouring of generosity already given to the earthquake appeals.”
DEC charity World Vision UK is mobilising its child protection teams to ensure children impacted by this crisis, including those orphaned or separated from their caregivers, are safe and cared for.
Mark Sheard, CEO of World Vision UK, said: “A humanitarian emergency of this scale requires an aid response that is historic in its generosity, and we are so grateful to those who have supported the DEC’s appeal so far.
“We urge people of faith to please continue to keep Syria and Türkiye in your prayers – we stand before God and lament with those who have lost loved ones or homes, and ask God to resource those delivering critical humanitarian aid to people in desperate need.”
The earthquakes lasted seconds but the aftermath will last for years. Your support will help DEC charities scale up their work and provide support now and in the months ahead.
Please give what you can at dec.org.uk.