Charities Supporting Victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes

Tom Read
Tom Read Writer
Tom Read Tom Read Writer

Charities Supporting Victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes

Millions of innocent victims have been left in desperate need after the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Many people are eager to help, but risk falling victim to cons and scam artists.

Malicious actors brought out in the crisis are creating fake online fundraisers and using AI imaging to form scams that can look legitimate. People wanting to donate need to learn some best practices to avoid them.

To help you find a trustworthy charity, we’ve compiled a list of reputable organizations supporting victims in Turkey and Syria, including local NGOs and international charities. We’ve also included some tips to help you spot scams and ensure your donations get to the right people.

Turkish and Syrian Charities Supporting the Disaster

#1: AFAD

Website: https://en.afad.gov.tr/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

Established in 2009, AFAD, also known as the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, is a Turkish governmental agency that responds to disasters and emergency situations in Turkey.

AFAD is integral to the rescue operation in Turkey and cooperates with public institutions, organizations, and NGOs to support people affected by the earthquake. You can donate to one of AFAD’s listed funds via its website.


#2: AHBAP

Website: https://ahbap.org/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

Founded in 2017, the Turkish non-profit AHBAP provides assistance to people in need, and works to strengthen solidarity and cooperation among the Turkish people. The organization has won the support of millions of people for its response to the earthquakes.

Along with helping search and rescue efforts, the organization is providing water, food, shelter, medical supplies, and other forms of support in earthquake-affected regions. AHBAP accepts both card and crypto donations via its website.


#3: AKUT

Website: https://www.akut.org.tr/en

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

The AKUT Search and Rescue Association is a Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO) composed of 200 permanent members and nearly 2000 volunteers. The organization provides aid and assistance to people affected by mountain- or nature-related incidents, including natural disasters and emergencies.

As one of Turkey’s most prominent search and rescue non-profits, AKUT’s response to the crisis has been emphatic, with nearly 800 volunteers assisting search and rescue efforts in disaster zones. While search and rescue operations are winding down in Turkey, AKUT will continue to play an important role in Turkey’s response to disasters and emergencies in the future. You can support AKUT by donating to the listed accounts on its website.


#4: Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM)

Website: https://sgdd.org.tr/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

Since 1995, Turkish non-profit ASAM has provided assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey, helping immigrants access their basic needs and exercise their human rights.

ASAM’s Disaster and Emergency Response Unit has supported the crisis in Turkey with search and rescue efforts, and is providing humanitarian aid, health and psychosocial support, and more, in collaboration with public institutions. Donations to ASAM can be made at the GlobalGiving-HealTheWounds webpage.


#5: Bonyan Organization

Website: https://bonyan.ngo/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Bonyan is a non-profit organization and is independent of the Turkish government. It aims to rebuild and rehabilitate war-torn communities throughout the Middle East.

Working with local authorities, Bonyan is providing assistance to communities affected by the earthquake. The organization’s efforts include the distribution of essential aid such as food, water, shelter, and medical supplies. Bonyan takes donations via a link on its homepage.


#6: Hayata Destek (Support to Life)

Website: https://www.hayatadestek.org/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

The Turkish humanitarian organization Hayata Destek (Support to Life) was founded to provide assistance to communities affected by disasters, whether natural or man-made, and ensure victims’ access to fundamental needs and rights.

In the earthquake zone, Support to Life is providing food and shelter and is supporting victims’ hygiene and psychosocial first aid needs. You can donate via the organization’s website.


#7: IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

Website: https://ihh.org.tr/en/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

Since 1992, IHH, a conservative Turkish NGO, has provided humanitarian aid to people in need, including victims of catastrophes, wars, and natural disasters. Over 1300 IHH personnel and volunteers are currently supporting humanitarian efforts in Turkey. The organization has provided search and rescue teams, and is distributing aid such as emergency supplies, water, and food.


#8: Ihtiyac Haritasi (Needs Map)

Website: https://www.needsmap.coop/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

Ihtiyac Haritasi, otherwise known as the Needs Map, is a non-commercial online platform that connects people in need with those who can help them. People can access anything from veterinary services to educational resources at no additional charge for the site’s services.

In response to the crisis, Ihtiyac Haritasi has created a campaign that supports disaster relief and recovery efforts. The organization is distributing essential emergency aid, including winter clothes, blankets, heaters, sanitary products, food, water, medicine, and shelter. To support Ihtiyac Haritasi’s campaign, you can donate via its website.


#9: International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC)

Website: https://www.ibc.org.tr/EN/main

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Founded in 1999, the International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC) aims to support people who are suffering around the world, lending special attention to those who are impoverished and disadvantaged.

The IBC supports people in disaster zones and, in response to the earthquake, is providing relief to affected regions throughout Turkey and Syria. You can help the IBC provide shelter, blankets, clothing, food, and medical supplies by donating to its GlobalGiving page, which is accessible from its website.


#10: Mavi Kalem Association

Website: https://www.mavikalem.org/

Location: Turkey

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

Mavi Kalem was founded in 2000 in response to the catastrophic Izmit earthquake. The organization’s goal is to support earthquake-affected and migrated communities, with a focus on helping disadvantaged women and children.

Mavi Kalem is providing humanitarian aid in disaster zones throughout Turkey, including the distribution of water, clothes, and sanitary products for women and children. The organization has also conducted 1-on-1 needs assessments with women in the Adana, İskenderun, Serinyol, and Antakya regions. You can support the charity’s efforts, along with its other projects, via the donations page on its website.


International Charities Helping in Turkey and Syria

#11: Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF)

Website: https://bridgetoturkiye.org/

Location: USA

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey

The Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) is a Turkish-American founded, 100% volunteer-run philanthropic organization that supports disadvantaged communities in Turkey. BTF is responding to the crisis by providing humanitarian aid – including food, water, clothing, and shelter – to its partners in Turkey, namely AHBAP. You can donate to BTF’s disaster relief fund and directly support its earthquake response via the organization’s homepage.


#12: CARE International UK

Website: https://www.careinternational.org.uk/

Location: UK

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

CARE is a non-profit organization that works to eradicate poverty, respond to crises, reform the world’s injustices, and advocate for policy and legislative reform around the world.

Working with the Disasters Emergency Committee, CARE is raising money to support its partners on the ground in Turkey and Syria. The organization is supplying everything from food to shelter, clothing, bedding, and other non-food items to affected regions. You can donate to CARE’s earthquake response efforts from its website.


#13: Christian Aid

Website: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/

Location: UK

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Christian Aid is a globally-recognized charity supported by over 40 churches throughout the UK and Ireland. The organization aims to eradicate poverty, support civil society, and respond to disasters in regions around the world.

Christian Aid has a dedicated fund supporting the earthquake zone in Turkey and Syria. By donating through its site, you help Christian Aid provide shelter, blankets, and heating materials, and deliver protection and sanitation kits, to those affected.


#14: Concern Worldwide

Website: https://www.concern.net/

Location: Ireland

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Concern Worldwide is an Irish humanitarian agency working to help millions of vulnerable people around the world who live in poverty, fear, or oppression. The organization offers support services in several areas, from emergency response to climate resilience, health support, and education.

Concern is providing victims in Turkey and Syria with shelter and emergency aid, including blankets, heaters, food, and water. You can access Concern’s Syria and Turkey fund via the organization’s homepage.


#15: Human Appeal

Website: https://humanappeal.org.uk/

Location: UK

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Established in 1991, the UK non-profit Human Appeal offers poverty relief, emergency response, and sustainable development support in regions around the world. Human Appeal has teams within the disaster zone cooperating with local authorities and the UN to provide life-saving humanitarian support.

You can donate to the organization’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal via its website. Donors help Human Appeal supply vital medical care, hygiene kits, food, warmth, and other forms of support to victims in Turkey and Syria.


#16: Japan Emergency NGO (JEN)

Website: https://www.jen-npo.org/

Location: Japan

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Founded in 1994, the Japan Emergency NGO (JEN) supports people worldwide who are affected by conflicts and disasters. The organization takes a holistic approach, offering help at every stage of disaster recovery, from emergency assistance to reconstruction.

In response to the Turkey-Syria earthquakes, JEN will provide food, blankets, hygiene goods, and various other items to people in need. You can support JEN’s dedicated earthquake fund from the link on its website.


#17: UNICEF USA

Website: https://www.unicefusa.org/

Location: USA

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, focuses on providing humanitarian assistance and developmental aid to children around the world. As an internationally recognized organization, UNICEF USA has teams in Syria and Turkey that are supporting children affected by the crisis.

In Turkey and Syria, the organization is helping reunite separated children with their families, while also providing blankets, clothing, hygiene kits, mental health support, medical supplies, nutritional supplies, and access to sanitation to affected families. You can donate to UNICEF USA’s emergency fund via a link on its website’s homepage.


#18: Welthungerhilfe (WHH)

Website: https://www.welthungerhilfe.org/

Location: Germany

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

Welthungerhilfe (WHH) is a non-denominational and politically independent German aid agency that offers humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation, and development cooperation support in disaster zones.

The organization has teams working within Turkey and Syria supplying victims with essential aid, including ready meals, diapers, hygiene products, clothing, blankets, shelter, and fuel. You can donate directly to the organization’s Turkey-Syria earthquake fund via its website.


#19: World Food Programme (WFP)

Website: https://www.wfp.org/

Location: Italy

Nation(s) receiving aid: Turkey and Syria

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) is an international humanitarian organization that responds to emergencies with food assistance in areas affected by conflict or natural disasters.

In Turkey and Syria, WFP teams are reaching hundreds of thousands of people with essential food aid, including ready meals, hot meals, and family food packages. You can directly support earthquake-affected families via the WFP’s dedicated fund, which is accessible via its website.


How to Spot Scams Related to the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes

Scammers will often find ways to profit in times of crisis, and we’re now seeing countless fake fundraisers capitalizing on the rush to help Turkey and Syria. Scams claiming to raise money for survivors of the Turkey-Syria earthquakes instead funnel donations into the scammers’ own PayPal accounts or cryptocurrency wallets.

Social media is a prominent vehicle for many scams leveraging the crisis. Some scammers are using TikTok Live to harvest donations in the form of “digital gifts.” They post images and footage of the crisis and rescue efforts with pleas for money in captions, such as “Donate for earthquake victims” and “Let’s help Turkey.”

How to Spot Scams Related to the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes

A fake fundraiser on TikTok Live (Image sourced from the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64599553.amp)

Twitter is another source of fake scams. Some accounts post heart-wrenching images of the disaster while asking for donations, alongside links to their cryptocurrency wallets. Many images are even AI generated, designed to trick people into believing they’re real. Other accounts post links to fake fundraisers on PayPal, with many fraudulent accounts masquerading as legitimate news sites or NGOs.

How to Spot Scams Related to the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes

An AI-generated image alongside a plea for crypto donations

Speaking to the BBC, cybersecurity expert Ax Sharma says you should be cautious of PayPal fundraisers claiming they’re based in Turkey: “There are real charities outside of Turkey using PayPal, but when these fundraisers say they’re in Turkey, that’s a red flag.” According to Sharma, PayPal hasn’t been present in Turkey for several years.

Other than spotting fake social media posts and fundraisers, what steps can you take to make sure a charity is legitimate before you donate?

Steps to Avoid Fake Fundraisers and Donation Scams

  • Avoid newly established charities. They could be scams. Instead, donate to reputable organizations with a proven track record.
  • Avoid charities that have characteristics in common with scams. Charities that over-use emotive language and images, pressure you into making a donation, are only present on social media sites, can’t provide much information about their operations, or specifically ask for donations in cash, gift cards, or by wire are potentially illegitimate.
  • Use online platforms to vet any charities before you donate. Look up the charity in your nation’s charity register, such as the IRS in the US or the UK charity register. Evaluate whether the organization is legitimate on websites like Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and CharityWatch, and by reading online reviews.
  • Don’t click a link or attachment to make a donation online. Look for the charity on a search engine instead.
  • Donate directly to affiliated organizations. If a charity says it’s associated with another charity or government and that’s the organization you’d like to support, go directly to their website to donate.
  • Only donate by credit card unless the charity is 100% trustworthy. Using a credit card is the safest way to donate and should be favored over other methods where possible. Don’t donate via cash or gift cards. While some charities may only accept bank transfers, you should avoid this method wherever possible, and only transfer money when the charity is 100% trustworthy.
  • Check your accounts for suspicious activity. Look for unauthorized transactions in your bank account. This will help you mitigate any financial damage should you fall victim to a scam, and avoid the same scam in the future.
  • Report a scam. If you encounter a scam or suspect a fundraiser as being fraudulent, report it to the relevant social media platform or your nation’s fraud and cybercrime reporting center. You can report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in the US, or Action Fraud in the UK.

The Bottom Line

Your donations are critical. Without them, the already dire humanitarian crisis in Turkey and Syria will only worsen. But it’s also extremely important that you donate safely, both to ensure your pledge reaches those who need it most, and to protect your personal finances.

You can make sure you’re donating safely and securely by supporting one of the organizations on this list. And should you wish to support another organization, following our steps for spotting scams should give you the peace of mind you need to donate with confidence.


About the Author

About the Author

Tom has covered numerous cybersecurity topics whilst working as a writer. Based in the United Kingdom, Tom enjoys cooking and going on country walks in his free time.