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Irish Emergency Alliance appeal

Needs in Northern Syria and Southern Turkey increasing daily

By Jacqui Corcoran, World Vision Ireland Communications & PR Manager

An alliance of leading Irish humanitarian organisations has reiterated its appeal to the Irish public to support the hundreds of thousands impacted by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria as the death toll is predicted to double.

The Irish Emergency Alliance – made up of Action Aid, Christian Aid, Plan International, Tearfund, Trócaire and World Vision Ireland – said they are overwhelmed by the response to its earthquake appeal to date, with funds going to provide food, water, blankets, hygiene kits and shelter to those displaced.

Irish Emergency Alliance Executive Director, Brian Casey, said: “Once again the Irish people have dug deep and stepped up in the hour of need. We are overwhelmed by the response since we launched our appeal last week and we want to thank everybody for their support.”

He added: “However we are asking people to continue to support, as the death toll – which is now at 41,000 (Feb 15) – will continue to rise This is unthinkable. The United Nations is warning that at least 870,000 people urgently need hot meals across Turkey and Syria. Millions have been made homeless. And the World Health Organisation has said almost 26 million people have been affected by the earthquake.”

Mr Casey added: “The Irish Emergency Alliance members are working on the ground directly and with partners responding. This is a time for continued concerted, united action. The impacts of these earthquakes has been devastating. In the midst of an already harsh winter, vulnerable children, families and others have been shaken to the core by the devastating earthquakes which have killed thousands in Northern Syria and Southern Turkey.

“People have been left without shelter in freezing winter conditions, with humanitarian needs expected to grow in the coming days. Access to clean water will likely be a challenge, bringing the risk of cholera and other diseases. By joining forces we can work in a really effective way to get aid where it’s needed most.”

World Vision Ireland CEO, Gillian Barnett, said:

“People need help now and there’s no time to waste. World Vision has teams working directly on the ground in Syria and Turkey. Working with the other agencies puts us in a position to get vital funding to all our teams and partner organisations who are working around the clock at this harrowing time.”

Trócaire CEO, Caoimhe de Barra, spoke of impacts on the ground and the difference that donations can make on the ground:

“Peoples’ lives have been decimated, with the current death toll standing at over 41,000 people. The level of injury and loss on top of the loss of life is hard to process. Thousands of buildings, including hospitals and schools, have collapsed and infrastructure has been badly damaged.

“The Irish Emergency Alliance member-NGOs and their local partners have been amongst the first responders, working with locally-led relief efforts. It’s vital that we keep receiving donations so that we can provide support and goods where our teams on the ground advise the needs are most acute.

“Immediate priorities are medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, heaters for safe spaces and winter kits with blankets, and warm clothes, and ensuring people have food and clean water. Our teams are also providing vital hygiene kits to help desperate families to stay healthy.”

Rosamond Bennett, Christian Aid Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: “The vast majority of people in northwest Syria are already in desperate need of aid after years of conflict. Again and again the public dig deep to help people in their time of need but every penny makes a huge difference to support people rebuild their lives.”

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The Irish Emergency Alliance are seven leading humanitarian agencies who have come together to respond faster and do more to save and help rebuild the lives of people affected by major emergencies worldwide. 

Our member organisations are ActionAid, Christian Aid, Plan International, Self Help Africa, Tearfund, Trócaire and World Vision Ireland. We have decades of combined experience and are active in 85 of the world’s poorest countries, often working closely with local partner organisations. Last year alone, we mobilised to support people affected by more than 20 disasters and conflicts worldwide, operating in some of the most difficult situations.