The powerful earthquake that struck southeast Turkey and northwest Syria on 6 February has so far claimed at least 35,000 lives, with thousands still missing and millions displaced.
Communities have been devastated, with buildings turned to dust and public services and critical infrastructure badly affected, hampering rescue efforts. People have been trapped in the rubble for days, while thousands more are left on the streets in freezing temperatures, without food and shelter.
The situation is desperate, but trade unions in Turkey are playing an important role in response to the crisis – and UNISON is now supporting the trade union confederations KESK and DISK in their lifesaving work, with a solidarity appeal.
UNISON’s longstanding partner, the Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK) has established a national crisis desk and units in earthquake-affected areas, to coordinate its response with other organisations.
KESK has mobilised thousands of members to collect donations and distribute essential aid in the 10 worst affected cities. The union is also collecting data on the needs of the population and assessing the impact of the earthquake on public services.
UNISON’s general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Everyone in UNISON is deeply shocked and saddened by the humanitarian disaster following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Our practical solidarity is needed now, more than ever, by our trade union partners in Turkey and I’m pleased our international committee has already agreed to donate £5,000 to this important appeal.
“We are urging all our branches to give what they can to help our colleagues in KESK and DISK respond to this unprecedented disaster. I know UNISON activists will respond positively to our call.”
Branches can make donations to:
Bank: Unity Trust Bank Ltd
Account Name: UNISON No1 Suspense Account
Account Number 33015758
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Please make your payment before 31 March 2023. Your support is needed urgently, so the sooner we receive donations, the sooner they will reach our partner unions.