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Portland-based Mercy Corps helping victims from devastating earthquake in Turkey, Syria

More than 40 countries are sending experts and aid to help rescue efforts. Portland-based Mercy Corps is among one of the organizations helping victims.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Organizations and governments around the world are rushing to Turkey and Syria to help after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the region, killing thousands of people and toppling buildings. 

More than 40 countries are sending experts and aid to help rescue efforts. Portland-based Mercy Corps is among one of the organizations helping victims.

Mercy Corps had a team of 50 people already stationed in Northwest Syria. All of the members of the group, who were Syrian nationalists, are safe and accounted for, but some of their family members— including children— have lost their lives. Now the challenge is getting to those people who need to be rescued.

“Buildings are leveled and search-and-rescue efforts will be the priority over the next few days," said Lynn Hector, Senior Director of Global Communications. "To add insult to injury, Syria is facing severe winter weather— it’s snowing and it’s cold."

RELATED: Powerful quake rocks Turkey and Syria, kills more than 3,400 

Hector said the workers in Syria will be getting essential items to those who don’t have a home to return to.

“We had a presence in Northwest Syria, we already had about 1,200 kits, tarps solar lanterns and blankets. So our priority over the coming days is accessing communities where our team members are already working," said Hector.

Credit: AP
Emergency teams search for people in the rubble of a destroyed building in Gaziantep, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Mustafa Karali)

There have already been dozens of aftershocks since the initial earthquake on Sunday, some have been as strong as 7.5 magnitude.

As the death toll climbs, Hector said she’s thinking of her colleagues in Syria and the people of Syria, who were already in the middle of a humanitarian crisis before the earthquake struck.

Hector adds that for the time being they are going to rely on the team they have in Syria, but she said they’ll be looking at additional resources if needed.

How to help 

Many organizations are accepting donations to help. Before donating, make sure to research the cause or organization to make sure it's legitimate. Here are some places you can donate to:

Mercy Corps

As Hector said, Mercy Corps already has boots on the ground in northwest Syria and is working to provide emergency water, sanitation, hygiene services and other essential supplies to communities affected by the earthquake.

Information to donate here


The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund is on the ground in Syria, helping families and children impacted. The initial focus is on providing emergency water access and sanitation, as well as helping reunited families who may have become separated. .
Information to donate here

Global Giving 

Global Giving, a nonprofit, has established a Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund to provide immediate and long-term relief, including food, medicine, shelter and more. The fund has already raised more than $120,000.
Information to donate here

Save the Children 

Save the Children has started a Children's Emergency Fund to get families urgent access to food, shelter and warm clothing.
Information to donate here


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