This story has been updated.
Thousands have died, and thousands more have been injured after a catastrophic earthquake that ripped through Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6. Considered to be the most powerful and destructive earthquake to hit the region in at least a century, as of Feb. 21, more than 48,900 deaths have been confirmed: over 42,300 in Turkey, and over 6,600 in Syria.
At least 13 ethnic Armenians died as a result of the earthquake. Mirna Minasian Tenekedjian and her son Alber, were killed in Aleppo in the destruction. In Turkey, Sami Tabash, Ayda Tabash, Alex Tabash, Mariam Karatash, Dshkhun Mesropyan-Balikyan, Armik Mesropyan, Mesrop Mesropyan, Baydzar Silahlin, Antoine Horoz, Zilan Tigris, and Yohannes Karolina Kap were killed.
Below are ways you can help relief efforts:
Armenian Relief Society’s (ARS) Appeal for Earthquake Relief
The ARS was quick to set up a relief fund for earthquake relief. “The ARS expresses its solidarity and lends its support to the Syrian Armenian Community, which finds itself amid another challenge to overcome,” the 113-year-old organization with chapters across the globe said in a statement on Monday.
Mirna Minasian Tenekedjian, who, along with her son Alber, was killed as a result of the earthquake, was a dedicated member of the Armenian Relief Cross (ARS) of Syria.
“The ARS always remains on the front line and allegiant to its mission, especially when the Armenian nation is threatened by disaster. Once again, we appeal for action to Armenians worldwide, all ARS entities, donors, and supporters to take the necessary steps and extend a helping hand to our brethren affected by this severe earthquake,” the statement concluded.
Donate to the ARS Appeal for Earthquake Relief through ARS Canada (choose “Aid to Syria” Fund).
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA)
Founded in 1918, the AMAA maintains a range of relief, education, childcare, Christian outreach, and social programs worldwide.
Following the destruction on Monday, Rev. Dr. Haroutune Selimian, the President of the Armenian Evangelical Community of Syria reported that the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church in Aleppo immediately acted to help the community. “People gripped by fear and left homeless, rushed to the streets, and more than 350 families found shelter in the halls and courtyard of Bethel Church. The Armenian Evangelical Community of Syria, with the financial support of AMAA, and the encouragement of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, was one of the first respondents to the disaster with direct material support and taking care of the immediate and basic needs, along with moral support and prayers,” Selimian said.
Armenian Prelacy of Canada
Heeding His Holiness Aram I’s call for support, Canada’s Prelate, His Grace Fr. Archbishop Tcharian, has urged the Armenian Canadian faithful and members to support the Armenian people of Syria through the Prelacy. “We express our deepest condolences to all [the loved ones of the] Armenians who died in Syria and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” the Prelacy said in a statement.
Donate to the Armenian Prelacy of Canada here.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)
AGBU has mobilized its team on the ground in Syria and looks to its global donor community to support emergency efforts starting by rebuilding homes in Aleppo and assessing other urgent and immediate needs. Armen-Ontario/AGBU Toronto is immediately donating $10,000 to support these efforts.
“In the past, your donations have been very generous, and we thank you for it. Your support is needed again and will have a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of Armenians,” AGBU Toronto said in a statement. The benevolent organization’s Toronto chapter will match donations up to another $10,000.
Donations to AGBU Toronto by check (payable to AGBU Toronto) mailed to: AGBU Toronto, 1 Concorde Gate, Suite 200D, Mailbox 17, North York, ON M3C 3N6; by e transfers to firstname.lastname@example.org; or through PayPal: agbutoronto.org/support.
ARS Eastern United States Emergency Relief for Syrian Armenians
The ARS’ Eastern U.S. region initiated a fundraiser yesterday that will support the activities of the Armenian Relief Cross of Syria to help those affected by this catastrophe.
International Rescue Committee
According to its website, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is an organization focused on helping those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by conflict and disaster. The organization has launched an emergency response to help families in Turkey and Syria who were affected by the earthquake.
First-time monthly donors will have their gifts matched by the IRC.
Donate to the IRC here.