UNICEF is urging Australians to continue aiding the millions of people in Turkey and Syria who have been affected by the devastating earthquake. Three Australians were killed in the quake, and the death toll has recently risen to over 41,000. Elliot Stein from UNICEF Australia explained that more children in Turkey and Syria have been impacted than the total number of children in Australia. He said, “Those six million children right now require food, shelter, water, medicine and safety. People ask, what does hope look like? Hope looks like a child in a disaster centre picking up a crayon for the very first time.”
Labor MP Sally Sitou appealed to corporate Australia to help the people of Turkey and Syria. She said, “It’s a time we should all be coming together to offer those in Turkey and Syria hope.” In response, Crown Resorts announced it would donate $100,000 to earthquake victims through UNICEF and Red Crescent International, and host events to raise more money in the coming weeks and months. Crown chief executive Ciarán Carruthers said, “We want to make sure we’re there to help them now and long into the future.”
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also joined in to encourage businesses to support the earthquake victims. They sent a message to 65,000 members urging them to come together as a business community and follow Crown’s example.
The foreign affairs department is providing assistance to the families of the Australians killed in the quakes and 80 other Australians and their families, including help to leave disaster-struck areas. Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters have pulled at least 14 bodies from under the rubble at Antakya in Turkey as part of an Australian disaster assistant response team. The federal government has committed $18 million in aid and sent a team to help with recovery efforts in Turkey. They are also calling for greater humanitarian access to Syria.