Earthquake aid

Luxembourg sends emergency communications tool to Turkey

Aid materials at the Red Crescent’s Hatay Logistics Center are loaded onto vehicles before moving to the region where they will be distributed. Photo: Red Crescent/Twitter/6 February 2023.

Aid materials at the Red Crescent’s Hatay Logistics Center are loaded onto vehicles before moving to the region where they will be distributed. Photo: Red Crescent/Twitter/6 February 2023.

Following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which have killed more than 5,000 people, a member of the Luxembourg Humanitarian Intervention Team will be deployed together with an emergency.lu terminal, says Luxembourg’s foreign affairs ministry.

The emergency.lu mobile satellite units provide communications capacity in crisis regions where landline networks and other infrastructure are damaged or unavailable. The platform is a public private partnership between the government, SES, Hitec and the Luxembourg Air Rescue, and had been previously dispatched in response to a 2021 earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people in Haiti.

The foreign affairs ministry said the terminal and an emergency response worker from the Humanitarian Intervention Team of Luxembourg’s CGDIS (Grand-Ducal Fire and Rescue Corps of Luxembourg) would be sent to Turkey the evening of 7 February. This person is an expert in information and communication technologies (ICT), noted the ministry, and will provide support to the United Nations emergency response team for disaster assessment and coordination in the ICT domain. The team will assess international relief needs and coordinate support and relief efforts on site.

Further details regarding concrete financial demands and needs remain under assessment.

Humanitarian organisations launch donation appeals

Humanitarian organisations such as Handicap International and the Luxembourg Red Cross have launched appeals for donations from the general public. Further aid is currently in the assessment phase.

“Our team is also part of the Benelux Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent,” said the Luxembourg Red Cross’s communications officer Maëlle Gillet. “The IFRC is in close contact with Syrian and Turkish colleagues to establish the needs.”

The head of communication of Handicap International Luxembourg Nicolas Klein, said: “In addition to our development agreement with the ministry of foreign affairs, we also have an agreement for humanitarian action. This agreement includes an amount for emergency situations. Depending on the feedback from the field, it is possible that HI Luxembourg mobilises part of this amount to finance actions and meet the needs of our teams.” For the moment, however, the organisation is still in the evaluation phase.

"We expect a huge need for rehabilitation," says Mehdi Magha, director of Handicap International Luxembourg. In a press release, the organisation also said that they will deploy psychosocial support activities to provide psychological first aid to people affected by the disaster; individual support sessions will be offered and a mobile team will be sent to the field.

Find more information and donate here: Luxembourg Red Cross, Handicap International Luxembourg, Caritas Luxembourg, Médecins Sans Frontières, SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde.

(Additional reporting by Cordula Schnuer)

This article was updated on 7 February at 4.20pm to specify that the Luxembourg support worker is being deployed to Turkey.

This article was updated on 7 February at 17:15 with additional information from Handicap International.

This article was updated on 8 February at 15:55 with information on additional donation campaigns organised by humanitarian organisations.