Unthinkable devastation has been unleashed on the region around southeastern Turkey and neighboring northern Syria, with a still-increasing death tool in tens of thousands. With so much of our musical network impacted, it’s vital for music channels to join in response. Here’s a guide.

Image at top/below: This photo is taken this week by an education team member at the NGO The Syrian Gathering, via Chams Network – used by permission. This gives one glimpse of the experience of Kahramanmaras earthquake relief this week.

Yes, you matter

To our readers impacted by the tragedy – my heart goes out to you. To the rest of us in the wider international audience:

First, it’s important to acknowledge the scale of this tragedy. Roughly 13 million people are in the area shocked by these two major earthquakes and their repercussions. Virtually everyone I’ve spoken to in the past days with connections in Syria or Turkey has been impacted in some way. They’ve lost friends and family. Their larger networks are shaken and gripped by loss. Survivors are struggling to get by or are already displaced.

We can’t consume the music of southwest Asia without caring about the people involved. And we can’t care about those people without getting involved in the crises they face.

I’ve heard the same call to action from everyone I spoke to, and it can be summarized essentially like so:

Take an interest. If you know people with any connection to the larger region, reach out. (The earthquake was felt as far away as Beirut, for instance; the human toll, worldwide.)

Show awareness. It’s easy to fall into a trap of disaster fatigue. And likewise it’s fashionable to mock social media campaigns – often with solid grounds. But it really does make a difference if you make some gesture that you’re listening – best by sharing reputable resources with others.

Give back. Help is urgently needed, both in kind and in monetary support. If you have excess to give, it’s meaningful – and time is of the essence.

Music response

Anu Shukla has a good write-up detailing how aid organizers are working with the music community, especially in Istanbul, Berlin, and London – though you can join many of these online from anywhere.

Turkey’s electronic music community unites to help earthquake effort [Resident Advisor]

I want to particularly encourage folks to support Refuge Worldwide’s fundraiser, either by attending in Berlin in person at arkaoda or joining online, next Sunday February 19th. (You can also help out by just clicking RSVP on the event!)

This event will specifically feature Syrian and Turkish artists. The lineup is forthcoming; I’ll share it once it’s available.

That event will be “a day of fundraising through music, food and arts sale in solidarity with the victims of the earthquake” – it’s entry by donation, so pay what you can / buy some food / buy some arts, as your means are available, or stay tuned to join from anywhere online and catch the music.

Turkey-Syria Earthquake Fundraiser [RA event listing]


Radio AlHara (Bethlehem & international, including in Berlin) has been involved, as well:

How to give

In any crisis, it’s important both to give what you can and to take care that you choose reputable organizations. It’s also especially sensitive in this case that funds and donations reach affected areas quickly. That’s especially true in the case of northern Syria, but applies to regions in Turkey, as well.

Via artist Korhan Erel, and lining up with what I’ve heard from other artists, here is a reputable list compiled by the Çukurcuma Collective.

AHBAP is a Turkish NGO aiming to provide all kinds of aid to people in need, in kind and in cash. AHBAP has been very active in helping people affected by natural disasters in Turkey.

If you are considering making donations to AHBAP, you can access the payment details by the following link: https://lnkd.in/dSrR_Nv [Turkish language]

Account Holder: AHBAP DERNEGİ
Swift Code: ISBKTRIS
IBAN (USD): TR320006400000210212150262
IBAN (EUR): TR150006400000210212150277
IBAN (GBP): TR370006400000210212260849

The White Helmets – The Syria Civil Defence, better known as the White Helmets, consists of about 3,000 volunteer first responders who “come from all walks of life,” including bakers, tailors, pharmacists, firefighters and engineers. You can make donations directly from their website –https://www.whitehelmets.org/en/

Or support & donate to;

Turkey Mozaik Foundation Kahramanmaras Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund

CDP Turkey & Syria Earthquake Recovery Fund to help earthquake-affected communities

Turkish Philanthropy Funds – Earthquake Relief Fund

Care Organisation Fund

Doctors Without Borders

Also highly recommended – Molhem Team has a decade-plus track record of assisting in the region:

In 2012, Molham Team was founded by a group of dedicated Syrian university students – young men and women who sensed the suffering of fellow Syrians who became refugees in neighbouring countries; namely Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. They refused to remain idle in the face of tragedy, and were determined to lend a helping hand to refugees and to alleviate their pain. Using every resource available to them, the volunteers have been striving to secure necessities, such as food, shelter, and medication to Syrians in need.

Following the relentless escalation of the Syrian conflict, the humanitarian crisis reached unprecedented levels, and the numbers of forcibly displaced Syrians multiplied rapidly within Syria and abroad. In response, Molham Team expanded and assumed a larger role in the field of humanitarian aid and development. The Team now includes over 300 volunteers from all around the world, who work together, day and night, to ensure that aid is delivered to Syrians in need, as well as approximately 70 employees based in the areas of operations.

Today, Molham Team is proud to have consummated its achievements in the charitable, humanitarian field by establishing a nonprofit organization bearing its name, based in Turkey, and has legal status and offices in Germany, Sweden, and Canada. Through this organization, Molham Volunteering Team aims at developing a solid institutional framework to its humanitarian work, independent of any political orientation or partisanship. Such institutionalization and independence solidifies the trust of the Team’s supporters and enables the organization to evolve in accordance with international standards of charitable work.


It’s a difficult time for those abroad, so here’s support for all communities impacted. There’s also this guide intended for the Turkish diaspora (via nene h):

The challenges in getting resources into northern Syria are well documented and real, but it’s also important not to simply give up. Smaller organizations and teams are taking action. Via connections in Beirut, there are some trusted projects making a real difference. These organizations also have been collecting in-person donations and have resources in Arabic if you want to pass them on to connections in the Arabic-speaking world.

Making sure aid reaches Kurdish people is also essential, and requires targeted focus. Via C-drik Fermont, Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê e. V. / Kurdistan Red Crescent is collecting with that purpose specifically:

These strong earthquakes mainly affected the cities of Amed, Malatya, Urfa, Semsur, Dilok and many other areas in northern Kurdistan, the cities of Adana, Hatay, Kilis, Osmaniye and Kayseri in Turkey, and the areas of Cizre, Euphrates and Shehba in northern and eastern Syria. The earthquake also affected the surrounding countries. As a result of the earthquake, hundreds of citizens have lost their lives and thousands are injured. Thousands of people are still under the rubble. Many houses and buildings have been destroyed, with winter conditions making rescue operations difficult.

This fundraising effort is also supported by female:pressure, organizing around their compilation for Rojava:

As of today 13th of February 2023, to support the earthquake victims in regions that are not prioritised by governmental actions, we have decided to redirect all proceeds from our compilation to Heyva Sor and so we have changed the donation paypal address to: Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê e. V.

This is in line with our support to Rojava. If you already own the compilation, you can donate directly.

… since 2016 – so far, this compilation has raised 3885 euros to help the women of Rojava build ‘The Village Project’. The totality of the sales were transferred to Roj Women, which you still can support here rojwomen.org.uk/donate/

Syrian Eyes is organizing on behalf of Syrians and the Syrian diaspora – both in English and in Arabic, from Lebanon to the United States – that campaign is now just past the halfway mark of its $20,000 USD goal as I write this:

Syria Earthquake Grassroots Response

More on that effort from Beirut:

I’m directly in touch with Chams Network (thanks, Serene, hat tip to William / rise1969). It’s a small organization working directly on the ground in Syria and Turkey and connecting to other grassroots partners. I recommend them for giving to reach folks, and it’s worth following their account to be connected to volunteer work and what it’s accomplishing:

This page will be updated; feel free to send in additional information.