On the morning of Monday, February 6, a devastating earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria. One week on from the disaster, as the death toll continues to rise, many may be wondering what the Dutch government has done to support local relief efforts, and how they can help from here in the Netherlands. 

Dutch search and rescue team on the ground in TurkeyLast week, a search and rescue team left the Netherlands, flying from the military airport in Eindhoven and arriving in Turkey on the morning of February 7. The team – known as USAR.NL – consisted of 65 aid workers and eight sniffer dogs, as well as a team of doctors and nurses, who were dispatched to help carry out search and rescue operations in the affected area. The team carried out its final search on Sunday, and will return to the Netherlands on February 16.

The country has also provided 15 tons of rescue equipment, and a so-called “flying ambulance” which can be used to help transport the injured. The government has also pledged 10 million euros to emergency aid for victims in northwestern Syria, which comes on top of the financial aid the country has provided through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. 

Finally, while USAR.NL team members are closing down the camp in Hatay, all materials and aid supplies have been handed over to an Oxfam Novib team that remains on the ground. These supplies include tents, heaters, food and water, and fuel. 

Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, has praised the work carried out by USAR.NL: “I have great respect and am grateful for the efforts of the Dutch rescue workers. In the midst of so much human suffering, they were able to make a difference, rescuing 12 people and a dog, comforting loved ones and helping other rescue teams.”

Donate to Giro 555 to help those affected by the earthquakeIn addition to the steps taken by the Dutch government to rescue and support those affected by the earthquake, members of the public have been quick to do their bit to try and make a difference. 

The Giro 555 fund is funnelling all money raised into aiding relief efforts in Turkey and Syria. As of February 13, around 25 million euros had been raised, and the funds raised will be used to provide shelter, clothing, food, medicine and healthcare to those affected by the earthquake. 

A number of events have also been organised in order to raise money: the first benefit concert is taking place in Haarlem on February 13, with another scheduled in Amsterdam on February 16, and one in Rotterdam on February 17. All proceeds raised will go directly to Giro 555.

The Netherlands’ national fundraising day on February 15The country has also organised a so-called National Action Day, which is designed to raise awareness about the scale of the damage caused by last week’s earthquake and boost fundraising efforts. 

The National Action Day – which kicks off at 5.55am on February 15 – sees all public and commercial radio and television broadcasters in the Netherlands come together in honour of the same cause: raising as much money as possible to provide help for those in Syria and Turkey. NPO, RTL and Talpa Network will also broadcast a live show on NPO1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday.

Thumb: D.A.D via Shutterstock.com.


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