US provides more than $135 million to Türkiye, Syria to assist earthquake response

The US government and the private sector have contributed more than $135 million to assist Türkiye’s and Syria's ongoing response to devastating earthquakes, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

The contributions include a previously announced $85 million initial contribution from the US, which has gone toward the provision of necessities such as blankets, food and shelter.

But Erika Olson, the State Department's senior official for Eurasian affairs, told reporters during a virtual news conference that the private sector has donated more than $50 million in assistance, which has gone toward air transport, clothes and food.

"That is just, I believe, a snapshot of what's really happening across the country in support for those in Türkiye and Syria," she said.

The assessment is based on an analysis from the US Chamber of Commerce, an association of businesses across the US.

The donations saw a dramatic uptick in recent days with contributions sitting at $30 million over the weekend, and rising to $51 million as of late Monday, said Olson.

The cause was not immediately clear, but the National Football League urged Americans to donate to relief efforts during the Super Bowl game Sunday -- the most viewed sporting event in the US.

Some US companies that have contributed include Boeing, which has donated $500,000 through the Red Cross and Red Crescent network and is fully matching employee donations. FedEx, the parcel delivery service, has used its aircraft to operate a cargo delivery Feb. 8 to deliver "critically-needed supplies," said Olson.

Asked by Anadolu if the government has an estimate for how much the private sector would ultimately contribute to the efforts, Olson said the figure is not immediately clear, noting the enormity of the ongoing donations.

"The scope and scale of the reaction will probably be several times larger than any number I could give you," she said.

"We've really been struck by the generosity from across the United States, and really the kindred spirit that the American people have with the Turkish people in this situation," added Olson.

At least 31,974 people were killed and more than 81,000 injured in two powerful earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, according to the country's disaster agency, AFAD.

The 7.7- and 7.6-magnitude earthquakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, were felt by 13 million people across 10 provinces in Türkiye and affected several countries in the region.

In Syria, at least 3,688 people were killed and over 14,749 injured.

Source: Anadolu Agency