The UK public has rallied round in a generous show of support for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, which has raised £32.9 million in the first day, including £5 million matched by the UK Government through the UK Aid Match scheme.
The total includes generous donations from Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort and Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales. The announcement came after actors Daniel Craig, Tamsin Greig and Sir Michael Palin made impassioned pleas to support the appeal on TV and radio on Thursday.
The funds will provide urgent relief for people affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which have killed more than 21,000 people and injured many more.
The DEC brings together 15 leading aid charities at times of crisis overseas. Fourteen of these are responding in Turkey and Syria including Islamic Relief, Oxfam and the International Rescue Committee, working with locally-led relief efforts.
Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the DEC, said:
“I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have already donated to the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal.
“The stories we are now hearing from the survivors who have managed to escape the ruins of flattened and crumpled buildings without shoes and coats in the depths of winter are desperately sad.
“It is hard to grasp what they and their families are going through. But what we do know is that help is already being delivered by 14 of our member charities using funds donated to the DEC. They are providing hot meals, blankets, and medical aid.
“For example, Tearfund’s partner in Aleppo has opened three shelters for people who have lost their homes, providing warmth, shelter, hot meals, water and other essential items such as soap and toothpaste, blankets and warm clothing. So far, they are supporting around 1,000 people.
“But we can do more with your donations. If you are able – please help.”
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals and schools, have collapsed and infrastructure has been badly damaged. Four days after the first earthquake struck while people slept, the focus is turning to the growing humanitarian needs of the 17 million people in the affected area. Many people have been left without shelter in freezing winter conditions, and food and clean water is needed.
According to the Turkish government, 380,000 people have sought refuge in government shelters or hotels. Buildings have also collapsed in north-west Syria where many people have fled from conflict in the country and medical facilities are limited.
Immediate priorities are search and rescue, providing medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, as well as blankets, warm clothes and heaters for safe spaces. They are also ensuring people have enough food and clean water.
Actor Daniel Craig voiced his support for the appeal with an emotional call for donations that followed the evening news yesterday (Thursday 9 February) on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky. He was joined by actor Tamsin Greig who presented the appeal on the BBC, while independent radio appeals were voiced by legendary actor and broadcaster Sir Michael Palin. Each of them urged people in the UK to donate what they can to support relief efforts on the ground.
Daniel Craig, actor, said:
“The pictures and stories coming out of Turkey and Syria are horrifying. Thousands have died or been trapped in rubble, with many suffering life-changing injuries and countless more losing loved ones.
“People’s homes and belongings have been destroyed, leaving them without shelter in freezing winter conditions, and those buildings still standing are at risk of collapse. Access to clean water is difficult, bringing the risk of cholera and other diseases.
“Emergency responders and aid workers desperately need your donations to help with the rescue efforts and to ease some of this suffering. Even a small amount will make a huge difference – providing a warm blanket or a hot meal. Please give whatever you can.”
Sir Michael Palin, actor, comedian and presenter, said:
"The level of destruction and loss caused by this week’s earthquakes in Turkey and Syria is hard to comprehend. More than 11,000 people have been killed and many more injured.
“Children have been pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings and families have been torn apart – a natural disaster of this scale does not discriminate.
“Your donations can help fund vital medical aid, emergency shelter, food and clean water supplies, and provide some comfort in a truly desperate situation. Please give whatever you can. Thank you.”
Tamsin Greig, actor and Ambassador for DEC member charity Tearfund, said:
"Families were asleep in their beds when the first deadly earthquake struck in the early hours on Monday – a terrifying experience which has left thousands of people dead, seriously injured or trapped beneath the rubble.
“With so many buildings destroyed or unsafe, people have been left out in the freezing cold. Many have lost everything - their homes and loved ones - and are now exposed to harsh weather conditions, which are especially dangerous for children, pregnant women and older people. Many of the families affected are already refugees living in desperate conditions.
“They urgently need our help. Donations to the DEC will help with rescue efforts and provide vital support including shelter, food, clean water and medical supplies - please donate if you can."
Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said:
“It is thanks to the generosity and compassion of the British people that the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal has reached within a matter of hours the extraordinary total of £32.9 million, which includes £5m of match funding from the British taxpayer.
“This support is helping to provide immediate life-saving aid to the hardest-hit areas, including medical treatment, shelter, thermal blankets, food and clean water to people in desperate need of help, as part of a wider package of humanitarian assistance from the UK to Turkey and Syria.
“This would not have been possible without the kindness and support of the British people. Thank you.”
Stay up to date with developments in Turkey and Syria, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on Twitter or on Facebook.
Notes to editors: Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07734 653616 (out of hours).
A collection of images and video footage of the aftermath of the earthquake and DEC charities responding is available here.
About the DEC: The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities at times of crisis overseas to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. The DEC’s 15 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.
Fourteen of the DEC’s 15 members are either responding or planning to respond in Turkey and Syria and will receive funds from this appeal. Some may work through trusted local partners. They are Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.
Through UK Aid Match the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) gives the British public the opportunity to have a say in how the UK aid budget is spent whilst boosting the impact of the very best British charities to change and save the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
UK Aid Match has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently Pakistan Floods Appeal and Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, both in 2022. The UK matched up to £25 million of public donations to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal - the largest commitment ever made to a DEC appeal through UK Aid Match.
Enquiries about UK Aid Match and UK Government support for Turkey/Syria should be directed to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Newsdesk. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to donate:
- Online: dec.org.uk
- Phone: 0370 60 60 610
- Text to give/SMS: text SUPPORT to 70787 to donate £10.
- Donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque by post to: DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.