KCL Turkish Society (KCLTS) are coordinating a donation drive among London students, collecting essential items for the communities hit by two recent earthquakes.
At 04:17 on February 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey, followed shortly afterwards by a 7.5 magnitude shock. At the time of writing, the death toll has exceeded 7,000 and is expected to rise further.
King’s College London Turkish Society (KCLTS) is fundraising to help the victims of the earthquake, appealing to the local and student community for assistance. On Friday 10 February, KCLTS is hosting a donation drive between 10am and 5pm across three King’s College London (KCL) locations. The Bush House courtyard, Strand campus entrance and Guy’s campus will have KCLTS members collecting financial donations.
KCLTS are collecting cash and card contributions only. At time of writing, transportation to Turkey is at full capacity. Therefore, the society will not be accepting physical donations at this time, but keep up to date with KCLTS for any future donation drives. Donations from outside of the student body would also be welcomed by the society.
In a document given to Roar, KCLTS stated that the plan was for the collected items to be sent to the Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) via Turkish Cargo. They also plan to collect donations from University College London (UCL), Imperial College London and other universities:
“With the coordination of the King’s College London (KCL) Turkish Society, universities across the UK are organising a fundraising event to raise money and gather needed items to the disaster-hit area.” The donations are scheduled to be flown out of London on Friday, the day of the collection.
In a statement on Instagram, KCLTS appealed to members and non-members alike.:”As a large Turkish student body at King’s College London, we encourage everyone to come together in unity and do our part in this devastating time. We may not be able to be in Türkiye physically to support, however we still have the ability and power to come together, fundraise and collect goods.” The post has been liked over 1,200 times at the time of writing, showing a huge outpouring of support.
Other societies, including KCL Boat Club, are running their own fundraisers alongside the KCLTS effort.
This is one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Turkey since the turn of the century, due mainly to the shallowness of the seismic slip (2km). Sitting on the border of the Eurasian and Arabian tectonic plates, it is a region prone to regular shocks. Few, however, have had such a devastating impact.
A similar-sized tremor in 1999 resulted in over 17,000 casualties. Significant damage has been reported in 10 Turkish provinces, as well as across the border into Syria. A 3-month state of emergency has been declared by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with 25,000 emergency personnel deployed, including the army.
Opposition-held parts of northern Syria have in particular struggled to provide sufficient search and rescue teams, with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) calling for substantial and immediate international aid. The plight of Turkish and Syrian citizens has led to an outcry from humanitarian groups for donations. The true extent of the damage in both countries will be incalculable for weeks or months.
Roar hopes that students who are able to donate will chose to do so. For students who cannot attend campus on Friday, organisations including the British Red Cross and Oxfam are appealing for further support.