Crisis Response Grants: Supporting lives devastated by the earthquake disaster

World vision staff asses building damage in Syria

Crisis Response Grants: Supporting lives devastated by the earthquake disaster

Published: 17 February 2023
An immediate £250,000 from our Crisis Response Grants Programme has been awarded to two charity partners, who are on the ground providing lifesaving support to people affected by the earthquakes that struck Turkey (officially known as Türkiye) and Syria on 6th February.
More than 35,000 people have been killed, and many more injured. The two devastating earthquakes of magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 have caused widespread destruction, with buildings reduced to rubble. Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by ongoing aftershocks, as well as the freezing temperatures. 
Homes have been destroyed, hospitals, bridges and roads have been damaged and power is down. With dozens of aftershocks reported, thousands are in urgent need of help.
With the huge numbers of people in desperate need, the Trust has stepped in to donate £125,000 each to British Red Cross and World Vision, enabling the charities to provide rescue support, emergency supplies, shelter, and medical assistance to those who need it most.
  • British Red Cross - Local teams from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are on the ground responding to the disaster across the region. Over 5,000 staff and volunteers from the Turkish Red Crescent and over 4,000 from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, local teams based in local communities, have been mobilized as part of a massive relief effort. They are supporting search and rescue efforts, delivering first aid and medical treatment, and providing emergency relief items such as food, blankets, beds, tents, and electric heaters. They’ve also deployed catering trucks, mobile kitchens and a blood shipment for people needing transfusions. In Turkey, more than 8 million hot meals and 6 million ready-to-eat food packs have been distributed. In Syria, Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have reached almost 60,000 people with life-saving support.
  • World Vision - Within 48 hours of the earthquake, World Vision had identified needs and released initial funding for relief. The focus has been on providing shelter and supplies to deal with the freezing temperatures, supporting medical centres, and providing basic medical essentials. So far, World Vision’s emergency assistance has reached more than 78,000 women, men, and children across North West Syria.
Richard Blewitt, Executive Director of International for the British Red Cross, said:“When emergencies of this magnitude threaten communities, it’s critical to reach people as fast as possible with essential aid like shelter, food, and health support. Benefact Trust’s contribution will help the huge global response going on across Türkiye and Syria, reaching people who are still reeling from the shock of this disaster.”  

Mark Sheard, CEO of World Vision UK, said:“The Türkiye-Syria earthquake has been utterly catastrophic, in Syria compounding devastation wreaked by over a decade of civil war. World Vision is especially concerned for the hundreds of thousands of children made homeless – many of them orphaned or separated from their families. A humanitarian emergency of this scale requires an aid response that is historic in its generosity. World Vision is deeply grateful to Benefact Trust for this incredibly generous gift towards our emergency response work, which will allow us to reach some of the most vulnerable children and families whose lives have been ripped apart by this tragedy.”
Lesley King-Lewis, Trust Director for Benefact Trust, said:“We’ve been astounded by the speed in which charities such as British Red Cross and World Vision have responded to the devastation in Turkey and Syria.

“We knew the best way to support their vital work on the ground was to transfer funds as quickly as possible and help save lives”
These latest grants mean we have now awarded over £2m in Crisis Response funding, supporting charity partners working in Ukraine and Afghanistan, as well as organisations helping to tackle the Cost of Living Crisis on our own doorstep. Whilst our core grants programmes focus on funding projects in the UK and Ireland, in the face of such devasting humanitarian crises the Trust can’t sit back and do nothing.
To keep up to date with our latest grants and news, visit
*Header image: World Vision staff assess building damage in Syria. Footer Image: British Red Cross image taken by Turkish Red Crescent on 13th February 2023.
Aid van supporting people in Turkey with emergency supplies

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