How 5 Nonprofits Are Answering The Call For Help In Turkey And Syria

When massive earthquakes shook cities in Turkey and Syria in early February, local nonprofit organizations were there to respond. As the aftershocks continue to topple buildings and threaten survivors, the relief work also continues.


A 5.6 magnitude tremor on Monday was the latest major aftershock to rock southern Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region on Feb. 6. This is how five nonprofits are operating on the front lines of the disaster to support earthquake survivors.

1. Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants

Where they’re working:

Turkey: Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adıyaman, Malatya, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Diyarbakır, and Kilis

How they’re responding:

The Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) immediately deployed its Disaster and Emergency Response Team to disaster sites with search and rescue dogs, mobile vehicles, and caravans.

ASAM assists refugees and asylum seekers living in Turkey, but in the aftermath of the earthquakes, the organization is supporting search and rescue operations, distributing aid, and providing shelter to anyone they can reach.

“We have been on the field since the first day of the disaster with search and rescue dogs. We rescued about 30 people alive from the wreckage in the area,” the ASAM team shared.

“Our efforts to support the emergency needs of families affected by the earthquake are continuing rapidly.”

Many of the areas affected by the earthquakes in southern Turkey hosted refugee communities, and ASAM is working with interpreters that can help these individuals access critical information. The needs in the hardest-hit areas are huge, ASAM said, and the aid provided is never enough.

Donate to Turkey and Syria earthquake relief efforts.


Where they’re working:

Turkey: Gaziantep
Syria: Aleppo, Idlib

How they’re responding:

Early in the morning after the first earthquakes on Feb. 6, SEMA’s Idlib Specialized Surgical Hospital started caring for the injured. As the disaster unfolded, they continued their relief work. The organization set up tents furnished with basic supplies to house families on the northern outskirts of the town of Jindires in northwest Syria.

By Feb. 14, SEMA had set up a camp to support children who survived the earthquakes. Their psychological support team organized activities for the children while also working to provide support to parents.

SEMA has housed 50 families in Jindires, in Aleppo’s countryside, and 140 families in Kafr Lussain, outside of Idlib. They’ve ensured that these tents include all the basic supplies from food to bedding and heating.

And through mobile clinics, SEMA has provided medical support to more than 900 people affected by the earthquakes, including pregnant women, children, and elderly patients.

“Relief operations continue from the morning after the earthquake until today—until this human catastrophe is over.”

3. Toplum Gonulluleri Vakfi (TOG)

Where they’re working:

Turkey: Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep

How they’re responding:

TOG launched a volunteer-powered response after the earthquake, actively working in warehouses in the affected region. With hundreds of volunteers to help, the team is unloading relief supplies and packing them into trucks in the warehouses.

Before the disaster, TOG created the space for young leaders to take action through social responsibility projects. The projects helped youth build self-confidence and entrepreneurial initiative to create solutions to the problems in their communities.

“We share the grief of losing thousands of our fellow citizens, including our comrades who are trying to make change, young people who give us hope and their beloved families.”

4. International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation

Where they’re working:

Turkey: Gaziantep, Kilis, Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Sanliurfa,
Syria: Azaz, Idlib, Al-Bab, Afrin

How they’re responding:

Through snow and below-freezing temperatures in some areas, the International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation is supporting earthquake survivors with shelter and emergency supplies.

“With the devastating damage to roads, transport, and infrastructure, IBC has received hundreds of families in its Kilis Community Center for shelter, warm items, and hot meals,” Amber Cakar, IBC’s Grants and Partnerships Manager, wrote in a recent update about their relief efforts.

The organization’s community center is also a hub for coordinating emergency response efforts in Turkey and across the border in Syria.

Donate to Turkey and Syria earthquake relief efforts.

In Gaziantep, the epicenter of the first earthquake, and other affected cities, IBC is delivering essentials like thermal blankets, ready-to-eat-meals, baby food, diapers, and hygiene kits.

Despite shortages of supplies and funds, they’re continuing to provide relief.

“We ask our partners and international civil society members to help us in these tragic days so that, together, we may overcome the suffering of our people.”

5. Kadin Emegini Degerlendirme Vakfi

Where they’re working:

Turkey: Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kahramanmaraş

How they’re responding:

Kadin’s team of 12 is working to meet emergency needs and plan their long-term response. With Afet Platformu, a network of organizations that coordinate disaster response, they are working to provide emergency support for those in need. ​​The organization is also collaborating with women’s cooperatives from other provinces in Turkey to provide assistance across the region.

“We know from the experience we gained from the 1999 Marmara earthquake that it will take months, years to embrace the wounds and rebuild lives. Organization gives life, solidarity strengthens!“

Support Turkey and Syria earthquake relief and long-term recovery efforts.


Featured Photo: Turkey & Syria Earthquake Emergency Response by Peace Winds Korea

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