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Walking the Talk
Brands Rally to Support Türkiye-Syria Earthquake-Relief Efforts

The 7.8-magnitude quake is the strongest to hit the region since 1939. A growing number of brands have been quick to offer various forms of relief support for the area.

We at Sustainable Brands stand in support and solidarity with everyone affected by the earthquake and our SB Turkey team, based in Istanbul. We invite our community to donate to the relief efforts through any of the following organizations:

A massive, 7.8-magnitude earthquake — followed by over 30 powerful aftershocks — devastated southern Türkiye and northern Syria early Monday morning. Thousands of buildings collapsed in both countries; and frantic rescue efforts are underway to reach survivors amid freezing weather conditions. The disaster hit 10 of Türkiye's southern cities, where millions of Syrian refugees reside due to the ongoing civil war. Aid agencies are particularly worried about northwestern Syria, where more than 4 million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance. The death toll from the quake had risen to 11,700 as of Wednesday morning.

Several brands have been quick to rally various forms of relief support for the area.

Intrepid Travel has launched an emergency appeal and committed $100,000 AUD through its not-for-profit Intrepid Foundation to support immediate relief, aid and rescue efforts in Türkiye and Syria. The B Corp-certified travel company will also donate all profits from bookings made for trips in Türkiye until April 30, 2023, to support the appeal.

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The Intrepid Foundation has partnered with Australian Red Cross to ensure funds are effectively allocated to provide immediate and longer-term relief to communities affected by the earthquakes. This will enable Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to address the immediate and longer-term humanitarian impacts of the earthquakes.

Intrepid will dollar-match donations to the Türkiye and Syria Earthquake Appeal up to $100,000 AUD whilst covering the foundation’s administrative costs, ensuring 100 percent of donations go directly to the Australian Red Cross.

“This earthquake has devastated communities across southeastern Türkiye and Syria. Most of us can only imagine the trauma of this scale of disaster; but through supporting this appeal, we can help communities that need it the most by providing basic emergency first aid and items such as blankets and tents to help house families during the middle of winter,” said Biheng Zhang, General Manager of the Intrepid Foundation.

Intrepid Travel has a long and close association with Türkiye; it has remained one of Intrepid’s most beloved destinations, welcoming over 25,000 Intrepid travelers in the past decade alone.

Today, Intrepid operates 30 Turkish tours and has 25 local team members based out of its Istanbul office. Intrepid Travel only had one group in the country at the time of the earthquake, who are all safe and were on the opposite side of the country from the earthquake’s epicenter at the time. Customer safety remains Intrepid’s number-one priority; and while the company is closely assessing government travel advisories, no significant changes to future departures are being planned.

“Intrepid Travel was founded on the idea of using travel as a force for good and giving back to the places we visit,” said CEO James Thornton. “Matching donations and donating all profits from our trips in Türkiye is the least we can do for a country that has given so much to our travelers and done so much for the Intrepid community. Our thoughts are with all of those who have lost loved ones and whose lives have been deeply impacted by this devastating earthquake” he adds.

To donate, visit Türkiye and Syria Earthquake Appeal.

Meanwhile, Amazon says it is responding to help meet the immediate needs of the Red Crescent and other relief organizations by preparing to ship donated relief items — including blankets, tents, heaters, food, diapers, baby food, medicine and other emergency items — from its fulfillment center in Istanbul to affected areas, where the victims are facing not only the damage from the earthquake but frigid winter weather.

“This immediate delivery is just the beginning of Amazon’s response,” said Abe Diaz, head of Amazon’s Disaster Relief program. “Over the coming days, we’ll work with local organizations and disaster-relief groups to identify on-the-ground needs and use Amazon’s logistics and delivery network to meet them.”

Amazon has nearly 2,000 employees in Türkiye but no facilities in the impacted areas. The company says it expects the first truckloads of supplies to depart on Wednesday, and it is committed to continue leveraging its infrastructure, inventory and teams to provide the relief that’s needed.

The CEOs of Apple and Google have also issued vague statements of support, according to the Economic Times. In a tweet, Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his condolences to the people affected by the earthquakes and that Apple “will be donating to relief and recovery efforts.” A similar message was shared by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who said the search engine has activated SOS alerts to aid relief operations, which will provide emergency information to the people impacted by the calamity. He also said that “and Googlers” will support relief and recovery efforts.

Telecomm giants T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom are helping customers who need to stay connected to friends and family during this critical time. Deutsche Telekom said it is making all calls from its network between Germany, Türkiye and Syria free for a week; Telekom and Congstar customers in Türkiye and Syria would be able to roam for free.

T-Mobile is waiving international long-distance and SMS texts to and from Türkiye, the US and Syria for T-Mobile and Sprint postpaid consumer and business customers; T-Mobile Prepaid, Metro by T-Mobile and Assurance Wireless customers free through Sunday, February 12. The company is also waiving international roaming, data and calls between Türkiye and the US for T-Mobile and Sprint pre-and postpaid customers.