2023 Turkey-Syria Earthquake – Center for Disaster Philanthropy

2023 Turkey-Syria Earthquake – Center for Disaster Philanthropy

On Feb. 16, 2023, CDP hosted a webinar, “A layered disaster: Supporting long-term recovery in Turkey and Syria.” Speakers shared the latest information, including critical needs and gaps, and provide concrete takeaways for funders to effectively support relief and recovery efforts now underway.

The following are examples of grants CDP has provided through its Turkey and Syria Earthquake Recovery Fund:

  • $250,000 to Norwegian Refugee Council USA in 2024 to deliver education in emergency and psychosocial support to children, youth, teachers and parents in Syria as part of the Right to Wellbeing 2025 initiative.
  • $199,680 to Aman Project in 2023 to support vulnerable earthquake-affected LGBTQIA+ refugees in Turkey with temporary shelter, cash assistance and support accessing services to ensure their basic needs are met and they are able to recover their lives and livelihoods.
  • $250,000 to Building Markets Ltd in 2023 to provide marginalized refugee entrepreneurs with tools and financial recovery plans to restart their small businesses, supporting the economic recovery of their own households and their employees.
  • $200,000 to Guardians of Equality Movement in 2023 to combat the psychological and economic impact on the most vulnerable earthquake-affected LGBTQIA+ populations in southeast Turkey and northwest Syria and build their long-term resilience.
  • $750,000 to Hayata Destek Dernegi/Support to Life in 2023 to work with earthquake-affected communities in Turkey to implement 90 community-identified projects through the survivor and community-led approach.
  • $40,000 to MapAction in 2023 to provide essential maps and data insights after the earthquakes to assist partners, including United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination and the World Health Organization, in responding to the humanitarian emergencies in Turkey and Syria.
  • $350,000 to Menekşe Organizasyon Sosyal ‎Yardimlaşma Ve Dayanişma Derneği (Violet Organization of Relief and Development) in 2023 to support vulnerable earthquake-affected communities, especially women and youth, to rebuild their livelihoods and resilience following the devastating earthquake in Syria.
  • $750,000 to Sened Derneği in 2023 to provide multi-sectoral and integrated shelter, protection, education and livelihood support to the most vulnerable earthquake-affected individuals, with a particular focus on children, older adults and people living with disabilities.
  • $500,000 to Toplum Kalkinma Derneği in 2023 to reconstruct the marketplace in Jandairis, creating a vibrant, inclusive hub for commerce, trade and entrepreneurship, fostering economic growth, community development and social cohesion post-earthquake.

The Council on Foundations published a list of resources to guide the philanthropic response to the Turkey and Syria Earthquake. Candid is tracking the global response to the earthquake in Turkey and Syria and, as of April 15, 2024, there are 520 grants and pledges worth more than $495 million, including 465 grants worth $289,027,690 and 55 pledges worth $205,938,679.

Of the $493 million, around 94% were added to Candid’s database within three months of the disaster. This is in line with what is typical after a disaster – a surge of giving followed by a slowdown the farther we get from the event. More support is needed for recovery, and philanthropy is uniquely positioned to provide this support given its ability to be flexible and innovative and to operate on different timelines than other donor groups.

The UN and humanitarian partners launched an earthquake Flash Appeal for Syria covering February to March 2023. The Flash Appeal requests $397.6 million to reach 4.9 million people and is complementary to the 2022-2023 Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). As of July 20, 2024, donors had funded 100% of the Flash Appeal; however, the HRP was only 38.1% funded as of April 15, 2024.

An earthquake Flash Appeal for Turkey was announced on Feb. 17, 2023, and covered February to April 2023. Turkey’s Flash Appeal requests $1 billion to reach 5.2 million people. As of April 15, 2024, donors had funded 56.3% of the Flash Appeal.

The UN’s Connecting Business Initiative Network in Turkey was actively involved in the response. The network is mobilizing its regional federations to support efforts on the ground. An example of corporate engagement is the partnership between the International Organization for Migration, Amazon and the UPS Foundation, which led to deliveries of humanitarian aid to the earthquake zone in southeast Turkey and northwest Syria.

On Feb. 9, 2023, the World Bank announced $1.78 billion in assistance to help with Turkey’s relief and recovery efforts. Immediate assistance totaling $780 million will be provided and an additional $1 billion in operations is also being prepared.

Governments around the world were quick to respond to requests for international assistance, including Arab countries. A day after the earthquake, the United Arab Emirates announced $100 million in humanitarian assistance. Alliance reports that governments and charities across Asia have also been mobilizing to respond to the earthquakes’ devastation.

U.S. President Joe Biden “authorized an immediate U.S. response” in the aftermath of the earthquake. On Feb. 10, 2023, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) pledged $85 million for shelter, cold weather supplies, food, water and healthcare. Samantha Power, the USAID director, deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team. On Feb. 19, 2023, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $100 million in aid for Turkey and Syria.

The European Commission said on March 20, 2023, it would support Turkey with $1.07 billion (€1 billion) to help with reconstruction. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, also pledged more than $115 million (€108 million) in humanitarian aid for Syria at the opening of a donors’ conference in Brussels. On March 21, 2023, around $7.5 billion (€7 billion) were pledged by the international community at the “Together for the people of Türkiye and Syria” International Donors’ Conference.

More ways to help

CDP has also created a list of suggestions for foundations to consider related to disaster giving. These include:

  • Prioritize investments in local organizations: Local humanitarian leaders and organizations play a vital role in providing immediate relief and setting the course for long-term equitable recovery in communities after a disaster or crisis. However, these leaders and organizations are mostly under-resourced and underfunded. Grant to locally-led entities as much as possible, especially considering the vast majority of the NGOs in the northwest Syria NGO Forum are Syrian-led. In northwest Syria, the response and recovery is very much locally-led and these organizations need flexible and stable funding. When granting to trusted international partners with deep roots in targeted countries, more consideration should be given to those that empower local and national stakeholders.
  • Take the long view: Even while focusing on immediate needs, remember that it will take some time for the full range of needs to emerge. Be patient in planning for disaster funding. Recovery will take a long time and while recovery efforts can begin immediately, funding will be needed throughout. The latest humanitarian response plans now include planning, prioritizing and implementing recovery activities.
  • All funders are disaster philanthropists: Even if your organization does not work in a particular geographic area or fund immediate relief efforts, you can look for ways to tie disaster funding into your existing mission. If you focus on education, health, children or vulnerable populations, disasters present prime opportunities for funding these target populations or thematic areas.
  • Ask the experts: If you are considering supporting an organization that is positioned to work in an affected area, do some research. CDP and InterAction can provide resources and guidance about organizations working in affected communities.

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