Hands Up Chairman, George Bulter, has returned from Antakya, Turkey, where he has been supporting people waiting to see if their loved ones can be found.
About his time there, he said: “It’s as you have seen it on the news. Maybe worse in parts. They found two people alive in amongst all the destruction, yesterday…the only other people left in Antakya are those waiting, on the street, for loved ones under the rumble – at this stage, any news, however bad, is considered a blessing.”
It follows the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the Turkish Syrian border last week, which as of Wednesday 15 February has left over 41,000 dead, a number still predicted to increase dramatically, and thousands more injured or without a home.
During his time in Antakya, George met many people who were waiting for news of their loved ones. He stood on the streets for days with Asma, aged 8, and her father Volkan, waiting, hoping, for their family to be brought out of the enormous piles of rubble.
For many living in Syria, the brutal destruction of their homes is no new experience. Even before the earthquake, 6.9 million people were internally displaced in the country. This earthquake is yet another brutal blow for people who have already lived through a series of crises resulting from Syria’s conflict.
After almost twelve years of war, economic collapse, COVID, and a cholera outbreak, the broken health system in northern-Syria is in desperate need of repair.
The Hands Up Foundation have launched an emergency appeal, which has already raised over £140,000. All the money raised is going directly to provide essential medical equipment and supplies, as well as fund salaries for doctors, nurses and aid workers so that they can provide critical health services to communities affected by the earthquake.
George emphasized the mammoth task of responding to this disaster in the immediate aftermath and beyond: “The grim reality is that whatever we raise probably won’t be enough.”
“But every pound that you give is likely to be the best spent emergency pound that Hands Up have ever delivered in that part of the world.”
You can donate online to our Emergency Earthquake Appeal here.