Milton Keynes City Council issue statement as UK charities launch DEC appeal for Turkey and Syria

    UK charities have launched an appeal to raise urgent funds to help those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

    The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), is an umbrella group of UK charities such as the British Red Cross, Oxfam and ActionAid, which coordinates collective appeals to raise funds to provide emergency aid, has launched the appeal. 

    The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has killed more than 21,000 people, with the first earthquake striking without warning in the early hours of Monday.

    Many people have been left without shelter as temperatures drop below freezing and access to clean water is likely to be a challenge, bringing the risk of waterborne diseases.

    There was already an outbreak of cholera in northwest Syria before the earthquake, Sky News reports.

    This morning it was announced that the UK had raised over £32.9 million within 24 hours, including £5 million matched by the UK government.

    Milton Keynes City Council has released the following statement: "Our thoughts are with all those affected in Turkey and Syria and with those Milton Keynes residents who have loved ones in the region.

    "Milton Keynes people have always come together in a crisis, and you may want to help. The best way to do this is to give a financial donation to a charity or NGO that you know and trust, if you are able.

    "The Disasters Emergency Committee brings together 15 leading UK aid agencies. They have set up an appeal to which the UK Government will match donations up to £5m. We recommend this as a fast and reliable way to get help to people who need it urgently."

    DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "Funds are urgently needed to support families with medical aid, emergency shelter, food and clean water in freezing, snowy conditions. Fourteen of our member charities are responding now in Turkey and Syria and can do more with your help.

    "Of course, we know that money is tight for many people here in the UK as the cost-of-living crisis continues, but if you can, please do donate to support people caught up in this deadly disaster."

    Salah Aboulgasem, deputy director of partner development at Islamic Relief, based in Gaziantep, Turkey, told Sky News: "The priority right now is saving lives by clearing the rubble. The next priority is supporting people who have lost their homes and gone through huge trauma.

    "People need medicines and warmth. There is a lot of screaming, people are trying to find relatives.

    "A lot of people are sleeping in cars because they are scared to go back into the buildings due to aftershocks. The cars are freezing cold.

    "Islamic Relief have lots of local staff and a well-established programme in the area, they are working with mosques and schools to open shelters."

    A special programme named Disaster Zone: The Turkey-Syria Earthquake will be on Sky News on this evening (10 February) at 9.30pm.

    You can find out more and donate here.

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