Newsportal - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
“Two minutes of tremors felt like an eternity”
Dr. Omar Chehadi is a research associate at the Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He was in Turkey at the time of the earthquake. Since his return flight was cancelled, he stayed in Turkey and joined a local humanitarian aid organisation.
Mr. Chehadi, where were you during the earthquake and where are you currently?
I was visiting my family in the Turkish city o Gaziantep when the earthquake surprised us while we were sleeping. These two minutes of tremors felt like an eternity. It was terrifying and we were all petrified. When, shortly afterwards, the earth shook for the second time and tiles flew off the wall, we left the house in a hurry and drove to an open space, as the risk of being hit by debris is lower there.
We spent several nights in the car and set up a shelter at my brother’s school. There, we started planning relief operations locally and in northern Syria. My brother is a co-founder of the non-governmental organisation “Orange”, which has been in existence since 2016. As a result, we have access to a good network and knowledge about crisis aid.
What is the situation of the local people, what are the most urgent problems and what are you doing to help?
The local people are in need of essentials. Many of them have lost family members, have become homeless because houses have collapsed or have been badly damaged. They have to endure the cold or live in tents. Most urgently, they need clothes and blankets, nappies and baby food.
How can we best help from Germany?
Cash donations are in fact the most helpful form of aid, as they can be used to buy locally exactly what the people need at favourable conditions.
Doctors without Borders? Red Cross? Local organisations? There’s a wide range of humanitarian aid organisations to choose from. “But where does my money really go? And what percentage of my donation will really reach the people in need?” These are the questions that some people may ask themselves before they donate. The German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) knows the answer. It monitors how charities use their donations. Recipients of donations that the DZI considers to be particularly eligible for support are granted the DZI Seal of Approval. A list of certified organisations is available here (German website).
If you’d like to find out more, you can use the DZI Donor Advisory Service. It is a recognised inspection body that independently and competently assesses the business conduct of humanitarian aid organisations. The DZI recommendations offer security to potential donors and the public, while its critical assessments warn against malpractices and black sheep.
The DZI) has compiled a list of names, addresses and account numbers of organisations calling for donations to help the people hit by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The organisations on the list bear the DZI Seal of Approval as an indicator of their eligibility for support. This list is available here (German website).
14 February 2023