Gilbert Goh, a Singaporean activist and founder of Love Aid Singapore, is currently on a 17-day humanitarian mission trip with three others, including a Syrian who is a principal of a Syrian school in Lebanon and two others who work at a non-governmental organization.
The team is in Antakya, Turkey to provide assistance to Syrian refugees who are residing in tents after their homes were destroyed by the recent earthquake. As many as three to four million Syrians are now in Turkey seeking refuge from the decade-old war back home in Syria.
During their visit, the team met with the Syrian refugees and found that their tents were make-shift and unstable. Goh and his team chatted with the refugees and decided to return the next day to provide more sustainable aid. Someone was also digging up soil to stabilize the tentage in case it collapses under the heavy rain.
The refugees shared their harrowing experience of the earthquake with Goh, with one Syrian young girl telling him that she still has nightmares and difficulty sleeping at night. Thirty of their neighbors died when they were slow to react during the earthquake. Hundreds of buildings and high-rise flats are empty of residents now and they are either seeking shelter with relatives and friends or living nearby in tents.
The Syrian refugees asked for a water tank so they could fill it up with fresh water whenever they could. The team promised to try their best to get one for them the next day. The team is also trying to add toys for the children, as many of them will feel better while hugging a toy to sleep at night, especially after going through the trauma of an earthquake.
As Goh and his team chatted with the refugees, a small team of two came to distribute bread and bottled water, lifting the spirits of the refugees. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to do good, and a simple gesture of kindness and love is sufficient.
If you wish to donate to Goh’s humanitarian work at Love Aid Singapore, you can contact him via his Instagram account or email him at [email protected] Alternatively, you can make donations through PayNow to 87745281.
A food parcel, which includes items such as oil, bread, noodles, flour, tea, and pasta, costs around $50 USD, and the team will be packing them up for immediate distribution over the next few days.
The earthquake, which hit southeastern Turkey and north-western regions of neighboring Syria on 6 Feb, killed nearly 44,000 people and injured tens of thousands more.
The United Nations denounced the failure to deliver desperately needed aid to war-torn regions of Syria on 13 February while warning that the death toll from the earthquake is set to rise far higher. A UN convoy with supplies for northwest Syria arrived via Turkey, but the agency’s relief chief Martin Griffiths said much more aid is needed for millions whose homes were destroyed.