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How to Provide Aid to Earthquake Victims in Turkey and Syria

The extensive destruction left behind by the series of earthquakes that will take years and billions of dollars to rebuild. To this end, Web3 companies have stepped up to help raise crucial funds for the victims affected.

On February 6, at 4:17 in the morning, a catastrophic 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, reducing buildings to rubble and causing the deaths of thousands in multiple municipalities. As rescue efforts began the search for loved ones amidst a bitter Anatolian winter, a second 7.5-magnitude quake hit, compounding the destruction and claiming even more lives.


Subsequent aftershocks and tremors have continued in the days following the disaster. According to Al Jazeera, the death toll has surpassed over 50,000 – with that number set to rise as bodies are still being found trapped under rubble. Humanitarian aid will be needed for an estimated 26 million people displaced by the tragedy. 

Damage to infrastructure and cultural landmarks has been substantial as well, with more than 93,000 buildings completely or partially destroyed. The millenia-old castles from the Crusades era as well as a citadel in one of the oldest inhabited cities on Earth are amongst the world heritage sites that’ve been destroyed.


According to Krista Pikkat, the director for culture and emergencies at UNESCO, the impact of the earthquakes were especially destructive due to the fragile state of the buildings.


“Once we get the possibility to go there and actually get a sense of the real situation on the ground, we will be able to better understand what needs to be done, but I anticipate that the needs will be enormous.”


One estimate from the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation has put the reconstruction costs alone at more than $70 billion (€65.2 billion).

But right now, humanitarian aid is the priority for Turkey and Syria. An outpouring of donations have been flowing in a moment of compassion and solidarity across the internet. At the forefront, Web3 entities have taken initiative to boost awareness and fundraising efforts in a big way. 


Animoca Brands Chairman, Yat Siu, alongside artists Murat Pak and Refik Anadol, have been actively encouraging their user base to participate in disaster relief efforts through donations to AHBAP, a Turkish charity foundation that provides disaster relief, and AFAD, the Turkish government’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management. 

To this end, crypto efforts have succeeded in sending over $5.9 million dollars in the week following the earthquakes according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. Several groups have received funds, including the Turkish Ministry of Interior Earthquake Humanitarian Aid Campaign, Turkish Red Crescent, Save the Children, Project Hope, and others.

Crypto institutions such as Binance, Avalanche, Tether, Bitfinex, OKX, and KuCoin have also promised an aggregate of over $9 million to aid victims of the earthquake.


During these times of crisis, cryptocurrency has proven to be a valuable tool in facilitating fast aid to those in need. During the early days of Russian invasion of Ukraine, users around the world stepped up to donate over $56 million worth of crypto assets to support the Ukrainian government and charitable organizations that were accepting digital currency. 

According to Ukraine's deputy minister for digital transformation, Alex Bornyakov, crypto proved to be extremely helpful in facilitating the delivery of vital supplies to their armed forces. “Each and every helmet and vest bought via crypto donations is currently saving Ukrainian lives,” he said.

How to get involved

Right now, the largest legitimate charity accepting crypto donations is AHBAP Derneği, a 30,000 volunteer-led Turkish NGO committed to enhancing the well-being and rights of families, individuals, and communities by promoting supportive policies.


The organization has been authorized by the financial authorities in Turkey and collaborates with AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) during times of disasters.

To keep track of the movement of crypto funds across the organization, check out this Nansen dashboard, which catalogs all of the wallets on supported chains.


If browsing a charity of your choice, be aware of unintentionally sending cryptocurrency to bad actors looking to take advantage of the situation. Due diligence is absolutely necessary to avoid scammers and fraudulent donation efforts. 

Check out OFAC’s Guidance on Authorized Transactions Related to Earthquake Relief Efforts in Syria for a more in-depth guide on how to provide assistance to Syrian earthquake victims while complying with certain sanctions.