Love Aid Singapore’s Gilbert Goh provides relief to Syrian refugees in Turkey, urges donations for tents

Love Aid Singapore’s Gilbert Goh provides relief to Syrian refugees in Turkey, urges donations for tents

Gilbert Goh, a Singaporean activist and founder of Love Aid Singapore, is leading a team of three others on a 17-day humanitarian mission in Antakya, Turkey, to provide assistance to Syrian refugees who lost their homes in the earthquake that occurred on 6 February. The team includes a Syrian principal of a school in Lebanon and two NGO workers.

The team is distributing cash and providing aid to Syrian families who are now living in tents after their homes were destroyed.

According to Goh, over 20,000 people are believed to have perished in the earthquake, with thousands still missing. Many residents from Antkaya and other affected provinces have moved to Rehaniye, Hatay, which has become a ghost town as many residents have temporarily left the area for safer locations like Istanbul or Ankara.

Despite a strong aftershock measuring 6.3 that hit the area recently, Goh reports that there has been no serious damage aside from a fallen hotel. However, many refugees are still living in tents and require assistance, particularly as the winter weather can drop to as low as 6 degrees at night.

Goh and his team have already provided aid to 74 Syrian families, including a 17-year-old boy who lost his legs in the earthquake and three widows living together.

They are also exploring options for a six-month rental relief package for families who urgently need housing assistance. The team has partnered with the local NGO Sadad to carry out 60 cash distributions.

Goh emphasized that tents are still critically needed by refugees who are living in tents due to the fear of another strong earthquake while they sleep.  They are seeking donations of tents, which are in high demand and have waiting periods of up to ten days or more.

So far, the funds raised have allowed the purchase of 16 tents and food aid for 200 families.

Tents donated by Love Singapore to families affected by the earthquakes at Turkey

However, many refugees with intact homes are also sleeping in tents due to the fear of another strong earthquake while they sleep, and some cannot afford tents at all. Some refugees are left homeless and in dire need of shelter.

Scientists have advised that aftershocks will still be around after three to six months but most probably will return to their intact homes if any after a month or two outdoor.

While Goh would like to continue assisting families, he will be leaving Turkey on 5 March.

He expressed gratitude to donors and supporters who have contributed to the relief effort. Goh’s team and the local NGOs they are working with are calling for continued support from donors to help those affected by the earthquake.

In related news, the Turkish Red Crescent has faced criticism for selling tents instead of donating them to those who lost their homes in the earthquake earlier this month. Opposition parties and media have spoken out against the Red Crescent, accusing them of profiting from the disaster.

According to Cumhuriyet, the Red Crescent sold 2,050 tents to the local Ahbap charity for 46 million Turkish lira ($2.4 million). The move has been met with outrage, as many families are still in need of shelter and unable to afford tents. This would suggest each tent was sold at about 11.7 thousand each.

The earthquake, which hit southeastern Turkey and north-western regions of neighboring Syria on 6 February, killed over 44,000 people and injured tens of thousands more. The United Nations has warned that the death toll is set to rise far higher if aid is not delivered to the war-torn regions of Syria. Despite the challenges, Goh and his team are doing what they can to help those in need.

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.


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