Northern Ireland donates £1m to earthquake disaster appeal as Turkey-Syria aid efforts continue

One week on from the deadly series of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria that have left at least 36,000 people dead, Northern Ireland has reached a significant fundraising milestone.

Donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal have reached £1 million in just four days, while some £65.8 million has been raised across the UK.

Buildings have been flattened, millions are homeless, and the true extent of the lives lost is yet unknown.

In the wake of the natural disaster, part of which affects already war-torn and rebel-held Syria, NI has been praised for its generosity.

The DEC brings together 15 leading aid charities at times of crisis overseas. In Northern Ireland, it includes Concern Worldwide, the British Red Cross, Save the Children and Tearfund.

Other smaller scale efforts to help are also gathering momentum.

Naci Batak is a jeweller in Lisburn who has been living in NI since 2005.

Mr Batak, originally from Turkey, has joined forces with fellow countrymen living in NI. He created a fundraising page along with neighbouring trader Mehmet Subasi and Portadown businessman Ibrahim Kaplan.

It has raised almost £12,000.

Separately, Ilayda Akinalan gathered van loads of supplies in her home in Dunmurry, and dropped it to the Turkish embassy in Dublin.

The Turkish national said she decided to take action because she felt helpless here as her family and friends struggled back home.

The K9 search and rescue team from Bangor also continues to look through the rubble for signs of life, seven days after the quakes.

The Co Down crew say that the death of a Brazillian rescue dog in a collapsed building was a stark reminder of the risk posed to all who try to save others.

As the death toll continues to rise, charities will hope the money raised continues to rise too, in a bid to give some hope to those left behind.

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