From Our President: Responding To Turkey & Northern Syria
Six days after the catastrophic event, the loss of life from the earthquake and aftershocks impacting Turkey and northern Syria, has risen to over 34,000 casualties. For your stewards at BBF, watching pictures of an almost incomprehensible level of death, injury, damage, and destruction, made it critical for us to respond as quickly and effectively as possible. Per my on-air discussion with BBF Board Member and KDKA Radio Talk Show host Robert Mangino, BBF’s response is from a humanitarian perspective as always – providing assistance while blind to the differences amongst us and standing empathetically united in helping overcome grief and adversity.
In addition to your generous and very impactful donations, our Board members too have been similarly responsive and are further aiding these efforts. Dr. Imran Qadeer, CEO of Allegheny General Hospital, is seeking medical supplies and equipment donations from Highmark/AHN, Brian Kennedy, SVP at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, reaching out to member organizations for support, and per my discussion with him today, UPMC Interventional Cardiologist and Western PA VA Hospitals’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Aref Rahman, is going on a relief mission to Turkey in the coming days.
Support from the institutional community was led by Eden Hall Foundation’s $100,000 grant to BBF coupled with an initial $10,000 grant by long-time BBF partner Food for the Poor, to be followed by additional donations of cash and supplies.
BBF’s response has two major aspects:
To provide immediate financial support so local partners on the ground can further assist earthquake victims – addressing needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical supplies.
BBF provided $10,000 grants each to Life for Relief and Development (LR&D) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). LR&D is on the ground working to distribute emergency aid, including food, bottled water, winter blankets, and medicines to hospitals. CRS is working with local partners to assess needs and respond as appropriate. BBF last collaborated with CRS in response to the earthquake in Indonesia in November of 2022. Our work with Life for Relief and Development has spanned nearly two decades, including BBF’s response to the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 which took over 86,000 lives.
To ship relief supplies via air and sea to partners in the affected areas for those impacted by the earthquakes.
BBF acquired lists of needed relief supplies from the Turkish Ministry of Health through our relationship with Andrew Glass, the Commercial Attaché at the US Embassy in Ankara. Andrew played a key part in BBF’s initial response to the crisis in Ukraine and has put us in direct contact with local Turkish relief agencies on the ground. We are working to provide humanitarian and medical supplies along with medicines, for both Turkey and northern Syria. These shipments will go out as soon as viable given expected logistical obstacles such as major disruptions at airports, roadways, and border crossings, along with a backlog of deliveries of aid from governmental organizations. BBF is also working with International Medical Corps (IMC), Life for Relief and Development (LR&D), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) in this regard.
100% of funds received for BBF’s response will be used to support emergency relief and logistics. As always, thank you so much for your support, we could not do it without you.