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The February earthquakes across southern Turkey devastated huge areas of the country, killed tens of thousands, and displaced millions. The major international aid agencies have been getting more fully engaged, in partnership with the Turkish authorities. But they face an enormous task, and their work will take many months.
Many of the 223 participants in Cara’s Syria Programme have lived in exile in Turkey for years, with their families. Most settled near to Syria, in what became the worst earthquake-affected areas around Antakya, Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep.
Many of them, like their Turkish neighbours, saw their homes totally destroyed. Even where the buildings were still standing, they feared to go back in, in case their structures had been weakened and suddenly collapsed. Many ended up camping in their cars, mosques, sports centres and other public buildings. As foreigners in Turkey, none of them knew what was going to happen to them, and what help they would receive – if any.
So Cara launched an urgent appeal, and looked in particular to the higher education community to help. We committed £60,000 from our own funds to get things started, and hoped to raise additional funds to make it possible for us to get urgent help to those in the greatest need.
Just over six weeks on, the response has been very encouraging. Individual donors have given over £20,000. University partners have contributed over £75,000. As a result, we have already been able to pay out over £92,000 to 86 of our Syrian colleagues and their families, and we are now planning another round of hardship payments, towards the end of this month.
Cara is not, and cannot become, a relief agency. Larger-scale relief operations must soon take over. But, for now, we are continuing our work to help our Syrian colleagues to re-build their lives, in cooperation with their Turkish neighbours; and many other at-risk academics around the world still also need Cara's help, to escape from persecution, violence and conflict.
Please help us to help them all, by donating through the one of the links on this page. Thank you.
“The impact of the earthquake was a disaster for my family and me. Cara's Emergency Hardship Fund has made a significant difference to our lives … no one else was able to help…”
“After the earthquake came we sat for 3 days in the street and then I rented a car for just one day as it cost 6000 TL [£260] … We are now living in a tent without jobs. Really, thank you Cara for helping us….”
"I want to thank you, especially for the giving me final funds. With that help, I was able to get out of the earthquake region and come to a safe city, and to buy many needs."