Jewish aid organisations spearhead UK earthquake relief efforts in Turkey

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Jewish aid organisations spearhead UK earthquake relief efforts in Turkey

World Jewish Relief and Magen David Adom at the forefront of Jewish community response to humanitarian crisis in Turkey and Syria

Kilis community centre, Turkey. Pic: WJR
Kilis community centre, Turkey. Pic: WJR

World Jewish Relief and Magen David Adom are on the frontline of international relief efforts following the catastrophic earthquake and powerful aftershocks in Turkey and neighbouring Syria.

The initial 7.8 magnitude earthquake centred near the Turkish provincial capital of Gaziantep, some 55 miles from the Syrian border. Hours later a second earthquake struck nearby with a 7.5 magnitude.

The disaster has left at least 7,000 dead; UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 320 people had been killed in Syria. The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes fatalities could reach as high as 20,000 in the coming days.

WJR providing food and shelter to those affected through their local partner

International aid organisation World Jewish Relief (WJR) estimates that 23 million lives have been devastated.  It has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to support those effected, responding through a trusted local partner, helping to provide emergency shelter, blankets, heaters, clothes, food packages and first aid kits to the worst affected in Turkey and surrounding areas.

Paul Anticoni, CEO, WJR told Jewish News: “Monday’s earthquakes have devastated an extensive area of southern Turkey and northern Syria with an estimated 23 million affected. Within hours of the first quake, World Jewish Relief was asked to assist its long term Turkish partner IBC in its response. We immediately committed £40,000 to assist and continue to work with IBC to enable them to scale up a massive humanitarian effort in support of those affected both in Turkey and in non-government controlled parts of Syria. Our Turkey earthquake appeal is live and we are hugely grateful for our community’s brilliant response.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “The tragic earthquakes in Turkey on Monday morning will have an ongoing, devastating impact for Turkey and well beyond its borders. I encourage all who are able, to generously support World Jewish Relief’s Turkey Earthquake Appeal.”

Felix Lotan prior to his departure for Turkey alongside the initial IDF Home Front Command delegation. Credit: MDA

On Tuesday morning, a team from Israel’s national medical emergency, disaster, ambulance and blood service, Magen David Adom (MDA) landed in Turkey as part of the official Israeli delegation.

As Israel’s representative to the International Red Cross & Red Crescent, MDA is participating after consultations with the Israeli government, the Turkish Red Crescent, and the regional office of the Red Cross.

Speaking on his arrival in Turkey, Felix Lotan, MDA emergency department manager, said, “As a member of Magen David Adom and a member of the Red Cross Society we are here with two tasks. One is to join the efforts of saving lives with the Israeli Search and Rescue Units. The other is to perform humanitarian assessment and to join the Turkish Red Cross to see how Magen David Adom can assist today and tomorrow and in the weeks to follow.”

MDA will be involved in any assistance sent by Israel and will be an essential part of the Red Cross’ response, which will include sending paramedics and EMTs who have trained extensively in extracting injured people from rubble and treating a potentially fatal condition known as crush syndrome.

Civil defense workers and residents search through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Harem near the Turkish border, Idlib province, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)

Magen David Adom – Israel’s Red Cross Society – has experience at providing medical and humanitarian assistance to many countries around the world that have experienced natural disasters.

Ambassador Hotovely said: “My heartfelt condolences go to the people of Turkey at this tragic time. The State of Israel stands with them in their hour of need. My sincerest thanks and gratitude go to all the volunteers at Magen David Adom UK for all their efforts in providing vital humanitarian assistance to the Israeli response in Turkey. I wish the men and women of the Israeli search and rescue team the very best of luck in their humanitarian response.”

Daniel Burger, CEO of Magen David Adom UK said: “Magen David Adom has always used its expertise and knowledge to support and assist whenever and whenever it is needed. Our mission in Turkey, as it is in Israel and around the world, is simple – to save more lives.”

Here’s how you can help:

To support World Jewish Relief’s fundraising appeal, click here.

To support Magen David Adom’s fundraising appeal, click here.

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