02/03/2023 Update: GiveDirectly  has enabled direct cash transfers to Syrian refugee earthquake survivors in Turkey: https://fundraisers.givedirectly.org/campaigns/turkeysyriaearthquakes

Please note: This post is no longer being updated or regularly monitored, and information may no longer be accurate. Please reach out to bilgi@eaturkiye.org with any questions. (Last updated on 12/02/2023).

From members of the EA community in Turkey

Dear effective altruist friends and community, 

As you may know, two earthquakes with massive magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.7 occurred in Turkey. The World Health Organization declared a Grade 3 emergency -the highest level of emergency- in the region. Almost 15,000 (update 12/02/2023: 30,000 and rising) people lost their lives, more than 60,000 are wounded  (update 12/02/2023: 80,000 and rising), and time is running out for the many thousands still waiting to be rescued (update  12/02/2023: it's too late to save many thousands still under the rubble, the challenge is shifting on keeping the injured and homeless alive in harsh winter and unsafe conditions). The death toll is likely to continue rising, and economic devastation in the affected areas is vast. Given this situation, those of us living in Turkey have been receiving questions about effective and trustworthy organizations to donate to for earthquake relief. 

Although it is very difficult to know the details of their cost-effectiveness and their precise impact, particularly from an EA perspective, and we cannot fully vouch for them, we can initially recommend the following organizations if you are interested in hearing from the effective altruism community in Turkey about our thoughts on where to donate or if you are already considering donating: 

  1. Turkish Philanthropy Funds: A US-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation that has started an earthquake relief fund. It has matched an additional $1 million for organizations on the ground. https://donate.tpfund.org/campaign/tpf-turkiye-earthquake/c465112  
  2. AHBAP: One of the most active and well-known voluntary networks in the region. https://bagis.ahbap.org/bagis 
  3. AKUT: A non-governmental organization based in Turkey involved in searching and rescuing the victims of the earthquake on the ground. https://www.akut.org.tr/en/donation (Update 12/02/2023: Given changing needs on the ground, other options are now relatively preferable, particularly as other funds in the list also make grants to AKUT on a needs basis). 
  4. AFAD: The official disaster and emergency management authority of Turkey. https://en.afad.gov.tr/campaigns (Update 12/02/2023: Given their continuing coordination with AHBAP, AHBAP is relatively preferable)
  5. Turkey Mozaik Foundation: A UK-based foundation that has started an Emergency Relief Fund and makes grants to organizations on the ground reflecting the changing needs: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/kahramanmarasearthquake (Update 12/02/2023: New to the list)

1 USD=18.90TL and 1 EUR=20.40 TL, approximately.

Please note that the effective altruism community in Turkey is not affiliated with any of the above organizations. We neither represent them nor receive any funding from them. Please also note that donations to these organizations will be used for earthquake relief in Turkey, and not in Syria, as we only have the necessary context to comment on the situation in Turkey alone. 

If you have made a donation before or after seeing this post, we would appreciate it if you could email us at bilgi@eaturkiye.org  or comment below so that we can have a clearer understanding of the level of support in the community. 

If you have been affected by the earthquakes in any way and would like to talk about it with one of us from the effective altruism community in Turkey, please feel free to reach out to us privately via bilgi@eaturkiye.org

Feel free to also ask questions in the comments or email at bilgi@eaturkiye.org

156

Comments18
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:28 AM
Helvellyn
4mo4541

My thoughts are with you all in Turkey. Thank you for taking the time to write this informative post in what must be a very difficult time.

On behalf of the community, thanks so much for all your support and thoughtful comments.

Thank you Eda for posting this. This must be a horrible situation to be in and I am so sorry for the losses and suffering.

Could you please give more pointers on why these organizations were chosen? While you can't vouch for their effectiveness, I guess you are very comfortable with them doing relevant work and having a solid track record of similar activity? (To be extra clear, this is not criticism, just understanding the extent of efforts.)

At Ge Effektivt (Swedish effective donations platform) we wrote a blog post about it partly because we get questions from donors about how to approach the current crisis, but also for SEO purposes and to have more people discover EA/effective charities. We did mention some organizations that we were comfortable with naming, but as I've also seen Ahbap recommended elsewhere I'd be happy to extend/replace the charities we're currently naming.

Best of luck in the fundraising efforts!

Hi Henrith, thanks so much for your kind message, wishes, and the blog post you’ve published as Ge Effektiv, much appreciated.

Unfortunately, there are currently no organizations in Turkey that are thoroughly researching the effectiveness of local charities (i.e. nothing even moderately comparable to GiveWell) although there are several efforts and initiatives we are following, such as AçıkAçık even though they are mainly related to transparency, accountability, and social impact rather than cost-effectiveness per se. For this reason, the organizations listed in this post reflect our current best efforts related to gathering information from various sources, utilizing our connections and network in Turkey, and our ongoing deliberations internally.

We are comfortable that these are relatively among the better options, compared to some other options out there, for those considering donating - which is why we’ve decided to share them with the broader community as we’ve received questions - particularly given the time-sensitiveness of the situation. We do continue to look for and assess more information and may update this forum post in the following hours or days if we reach conclusions that there are better options - in terms of effectiveness or impact – even though it’s very difficult to assess and understand these for disaster relief in general. 

I can also add that some of the charities you’ve recommended in Ge Effektiv blog post are also currently being considered internally related to updating this forum post, if/as needed. For example, Save the Children has been working in two of the areas hit hardest, Gaziantep and Hatay, since 2014, which seems to have proven advantageous for their direct response on the ground to the earthquake (https://donate.savethechildren.org/en/donate/turkey-syria-earthquake-emergency-donate)

(Another option we are currently strongly considering adding to the list in this forum post is Hayata Destek / Support to Life, a Turkish independent humanitarian organization working particularly on emergency assistance and refugee support - even though we wouldn't be able to vouch for them fully either for the same reasons explained above: https://www.supporttolife.org/donate/ ).

Feel free to consider naming Ahbap (or other organizations listed in this forum post) in the Ge Effektiv blog post and provide necessary reservations if/as needed if you’d like to add them. Many thanks, once again! 

If anyone is interested, here are some personal comments related to how this post was collectively drafted. Only for informative purposes, and nothing else.

  1. It was drafted with the hopes that it would be read in good faith. Unfortunately, it was also drafted with multiple concerns and worries, including about its reception. (As I'm writing this comment, I can say most readers have shown their empathy, and we've truly appreciated this at such times).
  2. There has never been an aim to re-direct donations that could have gone to i.e. those top-recommended by GiveWell, nor to make the case that donating to these organizations is the “most effective” giving options out of many cause areas and interventions. The former is undesirable, and the latter is simply impossible to argue. (We've tried to make it clear that the options shared are the relatively more effective ones for this specific cause, with the curation limited to best efforts, in the very severe aftermath of the devastating earthquakes).
  3. We've had particularly those of you considerately reaching out and checking in on the community members in Turkey in mind and/or are concerned with the ongoing situation on the ground, and once again, we extend our deepest thanks to you. 
  4. We've also had the community in Turkey and community members of Turkish originate or have other ties with Turkey elsewhere in the world in mind i.e. silence on some matters can be hurtful in itself. Turkey is an earthquake zone, many of us have experienced or at least felt earthquakes before, however, this has been exceptionally immense. This is the worst natural disaster most people in Turkey are going through in their lifetimes, even for those of us not in the areas directly hit by the earthquake.
[anonymous]4mo45

Thanks for sharing this information - very helpful to have some local recommendations for those (like myself) who are not very familiar with Turkish organizations. Best wishes to all those affected at this time.

Hi Finn, thanks so much for your kind wishes, support and sensitivity on this situation.

Thanks for this. It's important to give to rescue and relief efforts when disasters happen in addition to giving to development efforts in the good times so that communities are less vulnerable to disasters.

The information you've provided here is really valuable. Thank you. It will inform how I donate.

Hi Henry, thanks so much for your kindness and support, and we’re glad you’ve found this post valuable.

Recognizing the disagreements with your comment, importantly, we would like to express that we would appreciate it if this particular forum post is not used as a place to generally discuss for or against the effectiveness of disaster relief (via votes and/or comments). We would like to ask those engaging with this post to please be mindful that there may be readers directly affected by the earthquake and of the sensitivity of the subject, particularly at this time (the death toll has risen by more than 5000 people since we’ve made the first post and it’s still estimated to rise). We fully agree that disaster giving is an important subject to discuss and we encourage that discussion to take place; however, please use other existing EA forum posts on the subjects of disaster relief, emergency response, or other discussion threads unattached to this forum post.

Moreover, our post is by no means a general stance or an argument on the effectiveness of disaster relief, and there are differing views related to disaster giving overall, and to doing good in general (e.i. (ultra) neartermism vs (strong) longtermism) within the EA community in Turkey just as in the broader international community. Our post mainly intends to share our thoughts in response to the considerate questions and concerns we’ve received from some of you, given the severe magnitude of the earthquakes and the resulting losses, damages, and suffering. And there are EAs that are comfortable and interested in allocating some, generally much smaller part, of their charitable donations, to organizations or causes that may be simply difficult to assess, or to personal causes, or in an imperfectly effective way;  just as there are others who prefer to only or entirely donate to fully evidence-backed charities for most neglected causes only. It is valuable to discuss both approaches to charitable giving, but, preferably in more appropriate EA forum posts than this one at the moment.

We once again acknowledge that there are many uncertainties and challenges of disaster relief efforts, making assessing the effectiveness and impact of disaster relief interventions very difficult. This has also been well-explained in a recently updated Vox Article by Kelsey Piper following the earthquakes in Turkey. We’ve tried to take into account as many considerations as we could based on the situation here in Turkey while making this list (e.g. logistical difficulties given infrastructure damages, immediate vs longer-term needs of survivors, Turkish government’s measures and capabilities of enforcement for various matters, such as those related to pricing of scare supplies etc.) This list reflects our current best efforts and is limited by it, written with the intention of hopefully providing information and guidance to those interested in hearing from us in Turkey.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, and this sounds like a really difficult time for everyone in Turkey, EA or otherwise.

On the other hand, what you're doing here is sharing charity recommendations on the effective altruism forum while asking people not to discuss efficacy. If you don't think this is an appropriate time or place for this kind of discussion and want to keep this to an update on the situation and how this has affected the EA community, you could consider editing out the recommendations?

[anonymous]4mo43

Hard for me to see why this was widely disagreed with when I read it.

Because disaster giving (in a fairly developed country, especially) is the antithesis of effective giving. These organizations, especially now, are not neglected, and are almost certainly not as cost effective as something like AMF. Disaster giving is the textbook example of philanthropy based on bias instead of cost effectiveness.

Zafer
4mo2824

From another member of the EA community in Turkey, on behalf of several members who’ve seen this comment


Dear Anon Rationalist, we would like to encourage you to read our in-depth reply  to the original comment, and particularly consider our kind ask for sensitivity. We understand your concern related to sharing criticisms of disaster giving and informing those who may not be aware. We believe many members of this community are very likely already well-aware of them, and we’ve tried hard to be careful with our wording and considerations. We have also now shared Kelsey Piper’s article in our at length-reply, which focuses on the difficulties of disaster giving, particularly on the context of Turkey, in case there are forum readers that may not be as aware and would like to know further so that it may be helpful and informative for them.


Overall, by no means is anyone - or an entire EA country community, in this case - claiming that the listed options are as effective as AMF or making anti-EA arguments. However, we also understand some readers may not have accurately understood the rationale of this post, and we would like to hear suggestions from readers of this post and comments for better rephrasing our post and/or our comments, if that is the case. 

Moreover, this is unlike a regular forum post but more of a country-specific community update, which, again, we realize may not be as clear (and could potentially benefit from further community guidelines and Forum norms being developed around this, fyi, @lizka, or potentially by CEA Community Health). We also understand the difficulties that many could have empathizing mainly due to the differences in our experiences and context, however, comments like this one at this time and this particular post may not only hurt those directly affected, but they may even be the tipping point for people leaving EA, given the problems already existing within the broader community, and we only wish that these were exaggerations.

I think you need to re-read the post. They were in no means affiliating the charities with EA Turkey or even suggesting they were the "most" effective. These were some ideas to help out the community at a difficult time.

I read Anon Rationalist’s comment as arguing against Henry Howard’s comment, not against the OP.

Thank you for taking the time to share this information during a terrible crisis. 

I've added a link to your post on our article on the GWWC website so people can find the organisations you've listed.

My heart is with you and your communities. 

Hi Grace, we immensely appreciate your thoughtfulness, considerateness and support. Thank you so much for your kind words and wishes, and for linking our post to the article – and for writing the article itself. We hope the article will raise awareness related to this earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria, disaster giving overall together with its challenges, and effective giving in general while helping grow GWWC through those who may come across GWWC for the first time via this article. All of this is very much appreciated, many thanks, once again.

Ferdi
4mo20

My name is Ferdi. I am one of the people affected by the earthquake in Turkey. This earthquake took many lives and the number of injured is very high. The government and AFAD are trying very hard to heal the injured. We also help in the field according to our possibilities. The psychology of earthquakes has caused many wounds in people. The children were very impressed. We are working with all our strength. Thank you to everyone who helped and supported us.