Travellers should avoid heading to parts of Turkey, UK authorities have warned – but would-be helpers can donate money instead.
More than 5,000 people died after a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday. The World Health Organisation has warned that the death toll could reach 20,000.
The 7.8 magnitude tremor – and subsequent powerful aftershocks – wrought mass destruction across several cities, downing 4,700 buildings.
As rescuers race against the clock to save survivors from the rubble, travellers have been advised to stay away. But there are plenty of ways to help from afar. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Kahramanmaras earthquake was felt throughout southeast Turkey and north Syria.
The first earthquake hit the southeastern city of Gaziantep at 4.17am local time.
A second quake – with a 7.5 magnitude – struck hours later between the cities of Ekinözü and Malatya. Throughout Monday, surrounding regions were hit by at least 20 aftershocks.
Turkey’s most populous cities – Ankara and Istanbul – are in the west of the country, hundreds of kilometres away. Travel to these cities and areas like the Aegean coast is operating as normal.
However, travel to the earthquake zone is difficult and unadvisable.
The UK foreign office has urged travellers to “avoid the immediate vicinity” of the incident.
This advice applies to the following Turkish provinces:
Three Turkish airports have closed. Adana Sakirpasa Airport (ADA) and Hatay Airport (HTY) have shut after runway damage. Gaziantep Oğuzeli International Airport (GZT) has closed to all civilian flights, but continues to service rescue flights. More than 2,600 search personnel from 65 nations have arrived in Turkey.
Various cultural attractions have been badly damaged by the earthquake.
UNESCO – the United Nations’ cultural agency – is “particularly concerned” about the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria, a spokesperson said.
The Citadel of Aleppo, a large medieval palace in the centre of the city, has been “significantly damaged.”
In Turkey, buildings at the Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens have collapsed. This is a world heritage site dating back more than 2,000 years.
Thousands of rescuers are heading to Turkey – but there are plenty of ways to help from afar.
Charities and NGOs like the Red Cross, Save the Children, and Islamic Relief are dedicating aid to the humanitarian response.
Several companies are doing their part. Intrepid Travel has launched an emergency appeal and committed £58,000 (€65,000) to the rescue efforts.
Private individuals are using the web to chip in. According to online fundraising platform GoFundMe, more than 1,500 online fundraising pages have already been set up to help victims of the disaster.
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