Vice President, Global Resilience
February 10, 2023
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today launched private-public coordination efforts to help the areas impacted by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. This includes a corporate aid tracker currently showing pledges from the U.S. business community totaling more than $33.1 million.
“At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we want to ensure we are focusing the private sector on the right problems to develop high-impact solutions to help survivors," said Marc DeCourcey, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “We know that at this phase, cash donations are most helpful to on-the-ground humanitarian efforts, mitigating unintended consequences of sending unsolicited in-kind goods. This situation is highly dynamic and needs will evolve. We are committed to sharing ongoing information and resources that support the business community’s important role in this response.”
To support the earthquake response efforts, the Chamber’s Foundation and U.S.-Türkiye Business Council today united the business community, U.S. and Turkish Ambassadors, USAID, American Chamber of Commerce in Türkiye (AmCham Türkiye), and international non-government organizations for a coordination call to understand the current, emerging, and future needs where the corporate community can be of service.
U.S. Ambassador to Türkiye The Honorable Jeff Flake outlined some of the U.S. government efforts saying, “Over the past several years, the people of Türkiye have responded to natural disasters around the world from Mozambique to Ecuador to Pakistan and everywhere in between. Türkiye has really paid it forward. The U.S. will continue to do all we can in Türkiye’s time of need.”
Turkish Ambassador to the United States H.E. Murat Mercan expressed his appreciation for the private sector’s response so far. “These difficult times are what bring people together. We’ve already received very generous donations from the business community and we ask them to help any way they can.”
“This urgent aid is very important to improve today’s conditions, but we should not forget that there is a very long process for recovery,” said Tankut Turnaoğlu, Chair, AmCham Türkiye. “Public-private partnership can help restore business continuity – especially for Turkish SMEs – and focus on long-term needs like shelter, support for children, and education.”
- These earthquakes are some of the most devasting disasters of the century. The needs are vast and will only rise as the full extent of the earthquakes’ impact is assessed. The private sector is, and will continue to be, a critical partner to help the people affected by this crisis.
- Approximately 13 million people were living in the earthquake zone. Humanitarian needs will evolve as the response and recovery efforts unfold, but current priority needs include shelter and medical assistance.
- The affected area is an important economic engine for the region. U.S. companies are present in this region through manufacturing, logistics, energy and agriculture. Many of these facilities survived the earthquake but are not fully operational because of the humanitarian conditions—people do not have homes. The long-term focus should be on rebuilding this area so that people can return to their homes and livelihoods.
- Providing monetary contributions to organizations working on the ground is one of the best ways to help. Cash assistance is fast and flexible, allowing humanitarians to buy what is needed, when it is needed. This also can help local businesses and boost local economies.
- While cash donations to established, credible humanitarian organizations help most during this immediate response stage, if companies are interested in providing in-kind donations, they should coordinate with the UN Connecting Business Initiative to validate that the donations are needed and ensure that there is a plan to manage logistics and distribution.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will support a robust response from the U.S. government and disaster response partners in the region to maximize the impact of aid, unite for and plan for the next phases of recovery and rebuilding.
How to Support the Response:
Please click here for the U.S. Chamber Foundation resources page.
Share how your company is contributing by clicking here.
About the authors
Rob coordinates the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation's efforts to connect government and private sector capabilities and expertise, enabling readiness for all hazards and advancing resilience.