Appeal to help earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria raises £32m in 24 hours

An appeal to help the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria has raised more than £30 million in just 24 hours.

Donations from the King and Queen Consort, as well as the Prince and Princess of Wales, helped the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) fund soar to £32.9 million, including £5 million from the Government in matched funding.

The DEC’s appeal is helping 14 British charities respond to a natural disaster that has killed more than 21,000 people and injured thousands more.

Salah Saeed, its chief executive, called for the public to keep up the momentum to ensure the charities can do more to help those in need.

“I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have already donated to the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal,” he said.

“The stories we are now hearing from the survivors who have managed to escape the ruins of flattened and crumpled buildings without shoes and coats in the depths of winter are desperately sad.”

He added: “But we can do more with your donations. If you are able – please help.”

The Premier League later said it would make a £1 million donation to the appeal.

Charities including Oxfam, Islamic Relief and the International Rescue Committee are among those working on the ground to find people trapped in rubble and support survivors.

Mr Saeed said: “Thousands of buildings, including hospitals and schools, have collapsed and infrastructure has been badly damaged.

“Four days after the first earthquake struck while people slept, the focus is turning to the growing humanitarian needs of the 17 million people in the affected area.

“Many people have been left without shelter in freezing winter conditions, and food and clean water is needed.”

The DEC told the PA news agency on Thursday that it believes millions have been affected by the earthquake and that recovery efforts will take years.

Andrew Mitchell, the development minister, said the “extraordinary” sum raised so far was testament to the “kindness” of ordinary people.

He said: “It is thanks to the generosity and compassion of the British people that the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal has reached within a matter of hours the extraordinary total of £32.9 million, which includes £5 million of match funding from the British taxpayer.

“This would not have been possible without the kindness and support of the British people. Thank you.”

The announcement follows pleas made on TV and radio by Daniel Craig, Tamsin Greig and Sir Michael Palin on Thursday evening.

James Bond actor Craig said: “The pictures and stories coming out of Turkey and Syria are horrifying. Thousands have died or been trapped in rubble, with many suffering life-changing injuries and countless more losing loved ones.

“People’s homes and belongings have been destroyed, leaving them without shelter in freezing winter conditions, and those buildings still standing are at risk of collapse. Access to clean water is difficult, bringing the risk of cholera and other diseases.

“Emergency responders and aid workers desperately need your donations to help with the rescue efforts and to ease some of this suffering. Even a small amount will make a huge difference – providing a warm blanket or a hot meal. Please give whatever you can.”

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