Jersey Overseas Aid has pledged £150,000 to The Red Cross and Crescent’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, taking the Island’s allocation to £350,000.
The number of people confirmed to have died in Turkey and Syria has risen to more than 35,000. The UN has warned that the final death toll from the quake is likely to be at least double that.
The earthquakes have affected an area of around 400sq km including the big industrial cities where approximately 12 million people including around two million Syrian refugees live. Health facilities have been damaged and those that are functioning are being overwhelmed. Heavy snow in the entire region and severe damage to critical infrastructure is further hampering the humanitarian response. In Northern Syria, where 87% of the population rely on humanitarian aid, the earthquakes have hit parts of the country that have already been devastated by more than a decade of civil war.
Local Red Crescent teams are on the ground in Turkey and Syria, supporting search and rescue efforts, providing first aid and medical treatment to those who have been injured and delivering critical humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) has already deployed over 4,000 staff and volunteers to pull people from the rubble across Aleppo, Hama and Lattakia districts. Teams are also providing first aid, emotional support, helping to reunite family members, establishing community shelters, and providing food and relief items like mattresses and blankets.
SARC is also providing health and care support such as access to clean and safe water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene items. Crucially, it is also providing community care such as protection for unaccompanied and separated children and ensuring strong safeguarding measures are in place to prevent gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.
Jersey’s funding for The Red Cross and Crescent’s Turkey-Syria Appeal is in addition to a £200,000 allocation already made to a ‘pooled fund’ in collaboration with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and other Government donors to specifically address the needs in Northern-Syria. The pooled fund is part of wider support targeting Syria which is now in its 12th year of protracted crisis. Jersey’s contribution will be used for earthquake response and be dispersed directly to approved International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and local NGOs working in Northern Syria.
Pooled funds allow JOA to provide aid in multiple sectors at the absolute frontline of a humanitarian emergency. Resources can be deployed rapidly, reaching the neediest beneficiaries and support best placed local actors. The professional, transparent and low-cost administration of the funds make this an efficient and low-risk way for JOA to provide support.
Jersey’s Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said: “Given the sheer scale and acuteness of needs, it is essential that the humanitarian response is coordinated and provides approved partners with the necessary resources to deliver life-saving assistance on the ground, quickly and effectively. Supporting The Red Cross and Crescent Movement complements our existing support of the hard to access region of Northern-Syria who are facing unimaginable hardship after more than a decade of civil war.”
In a letter of thanks to the people of Jersey, Richard Blewitt, Executive Director of International, The British Red Cross, said: “When emergencies of this magnitude threaten communities, the early hours of response are critical. You are enabling us to rapidly scale-up our resources so we can save lives by quickly finding people who are sadly missing and supporting the thousands of injured people still reeling from the shock of this disaster. Your support will help us to provide urgent humanitarian assistance including emergency food, cash and medical supplies. You’ll also help us protect the injured from the biting cold with blankets, sleeping bags, electric heaters and tents. Right now, we know that people are struggling emotionally and more than ever need their families around them. We’ll do all we can to bring families back together and support them through the trauma of this disaster.”
Picture Credit: The British Red Cross