Our partner organizations in Turkey and northern Syria – Support for earthquake victims

Following the earthquakes in Turkey and northern Syria, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) are the biggest natural disaster of the last 100 years, a great sense of solidarity arose worldwide. Political differences no longer mattered. Adessium also supports organizations in this hard-hit region.

Focus on vulnerable target groups

Director of Programs Martijn Meijer explains our considerations in choosing which aid organizations to support: “The main idea was that our donations should go to the most urgent needs in the region, such as medical support, shelter, food and psychological help. We also thought it was important to choose organizations that were already present in Turkey and northern Syria before the earthquakes because they know exactly what the local needs are and how they can respond to them as quickly as possible. We chose to focus on organizations that target the most vulnerable target groups, such as children, people with disabilities and refugees. In the end, we chose three parties: Doctors without Borders, Choose Love and Doctors of the World.”

The White Helmets, partner organization of Choose Love, rescue victims from the collapsed buildings in Northern Syria.

Choose Love

Choose Love provides financial support to 30 local partner organizations already operating in affected regions in southeast Turkey and northern Syria. This organization serves as a bridge between large funders such as Adessium and small local organizations which we cannot usually support, including:

  • White Helmets: search and rescue, evacuations, debris clearance, ambulances and medical assistance.
  • Child Houses: child protection and care for children who lost family members during the earthquake.
  • Basmeh & Zeitooneh: shelter and support in reception locations, food, distribution of hygiene kits.
  • Maram Foundation: distribution of non-food items such as blankets, hygiene items and winter clothing for families in southern Turkey.

These partners could start work immediately, while the international organizations which did not have a presence in the region had to raise money first and then faced closed borders. In Turkey, Choose Love also has an extensive local network of relief organizations that provide emergency aid.

Doctors without Borders distributes relief items to a reception center hosting displaced families as a result of the earthquake. © Omar Haj Kadour

Doctors without Borders

“My whole house has collapsed,” says Ammar in a video from Doctors without Borders (in Dutch). He is one of the victims of the earthquakes in Syria. As Doctors without Borders was already present in northern Syria before the earthquakes, the organization could provide immediate medical assistance. The teams treated hundreds of injured people in the first hours after the quake. Doctors without Borders also deployed 90 ambulances to swiftly transport the wounded, especially from hard-to-reach villages. Doctors of the organization currently support 38 hospitals in the affected areas, in addition to providing care to around 40,000 people in a mobile clinic. Doctors without Borders works closely with local partners in Turkey, where the organization focuses on psychosocial care and practical help, such as installing latrines and distributing heaters and jerry cans.

The Medical Mobile unit of Doctors of the World during the earthquake in Antakya in Turkey. © OLIVIER PAPEGNIES

Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World is part of the global network of Médecins du Monde, which operates in 74 countries, including Turkey and Syria. The organization was already operating in nine clinics in northwestern Syria and providing aid to refugees in Turkey. Doctors of the World currently provides health screenings, medication distribution and psychological first aid after trauma in the affected areas of Turkey.
There was already a humanitarian crisis and a risk of another cholera epidemic before the earthquakes in northwest Syria. On top of that, the region faces a severe shortage of clean drinking water due to the disaster. In nine clinics, doctors from Doctors of the World are helping earthquake victims and treating people with cholera. They have also set up special containers where women and children can wash themselves and where they teach people how to prevent cholera infection.

Responding to social priorities

In a fast-changing society, philanthropic foundations have to be flexible enough to respond to changes in social priorities. To that end, Adessium has earmarked a flexible budget as a supplement to the three programs. Thanks to the flexible budget, Adessium was able to make funds available for emergency aid to the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

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