A deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Türkiye and Syria Feb. 6, with more than 20,000 fatalities thus far reported. That number is expected to grow as rescue operations continue.
The earthquake marks one of the strongest to hit the region in more than a century. Striking within 15 miles of Nurdagi, Türkiye, the earthquake destroyed nearly 5,000 buildings across several cities.
In addition to the devastating loss of life and buildings, many cultural attractions, including Heritage sites, suffered damage from the earthquake. UNESCO expressed concern over the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo, citing significant damage, especially to the Citadel of Aleppo. Türkiye’s Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site more than 2,000 years old, collapsed. UNESCO announced plans to conduct a survey of the affected areas to uncover which sites suffered damage or collapsed completely.
Travel to cities like Istanbul and Ankara, Türkiye’s most populous cities, operates as normal. These cities lie hundreds of miles away from the origin of the earthquake and therefore pose no threat to travelers. That said, all travel to and from Türkiye has been affected by the earthquake, with travel to anywhere within the earthquake zone difficult and unadvisable. Warnings against travel to Sirnak and Hakkari are also in place. Relief efforts and supply deliveries to the affected areas are of the utmost importance.
With more than 23 million civilians impacted by the earthquake, everyone around the world is encouraged to help survivors. UNICEF works to support children in Syria and Türkiye displaced not only from the earthquake but also from years of civil war. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is currently raising funds to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent to provide medical care, food, psychological support and search and rescue efforts. An official transfer account for donations from the United States has been established with the following details:
Bank Name: Bank of America
Branch Name: Dupont Circle
Address: 3 Dupont Circle NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Account Name: Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
Account Number: 0019 2343 0455
Routing Number: 054001204
Swift No.: BOFAUS3N
Those who want to verify donated funds reach a worthy cause can confirm a charity’s finances, governance and levels of transparency via CharityWatch and Charity Navigator.
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