Federal government will match up to $10 million in donations for earthquake relief
More than 12,000 people have died in the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria
The federal government says it will match up to $10 million in donations to the Canadian Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria.
The government said in a news release that it will match donations to the humanitarian organization's Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria Appeal between February 6 and 22.
"These critical funds will allow the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to support immediate and ongoing humanitarian efforts," the news release says.
"Canada remains in close contact with humanitarian partners on the ground and will continue to respond to the crisis."
The announcement follows the federal government's separate pledge of $10 million in aid for earthquake efforts. Over 12,000 people have died so far because of the earthquake, making it the world's deadliest in over a decade.
"There are significant humanitarian needs after the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, and I want to thank Canadians who have donated in support of the emergency response underway," Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, said in a news release.
"We are grateful to the Government of Canada for their commitment and hope that the announcement to match funds encourages individuals in Canada to donate in support of those impacted by the devastating earthquakes, as they are able."
WATCH | Canada to match Red Cross donations up to $10 million for Turkey and Syria:
International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said Tuesday the government is waiting on assessments from United Nations teams on the ground in Turkey and Syria before it makes a decision about sending medical and search and rescue teams.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is still assessing the situation.
"From the very beginning, we've been talking with our diplomatic staff, our counterparts over there, working with the international community on getting as much help as needed, the right way," Trudeau told reporters.
"We are there to help. We're just looking at how to best do it."
Aid team from Canada assisting in Turkey
The Toronto-based humanitarian aid organization Global-Medic said Wednesday it would have Canadian teams in Turkey later in the day to assist with search and rescue efforts and emergency relief.
"[There's] a lot of work to be done and we're really focusing on the basics. Let's get you clean drinking water. Let's get you fed. Let's figure out where we can get you shelter. Let's help you with some medical care. Let's help you with giving the critical infrastructure to provide that medical care," said Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic.
A senior government official told CBC that Canada has sent a seven-member Canadian Disaster Assessment Team (CDAT) to Turkey to find out how Canada can contribute to relief efforts. Sajjan later confirmed in a tweet that the assessment team was being sent to Turkey.
A joint <a href="https://twitter.com/GAC_Corporate?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GAC_Corporate</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadianForces?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadianForces</a> Canadian Disaster Assessment Team (CDAT) is currently en route to Türkiye, assessing what tools Canada can best use to respond to the widespread devastation, and to help those in need.—@HarjitSajjan
The team consists of a group of experts from Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. It will report back to the government on additional assistance Canada could provide, such as the deployment of a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).
More than two dozen countries — including the United States, Britain, China, Russia, Israel, Germany and India — have joined tens of thousands of local emergency personnel in Syria and Turkey. Those teams include structural engineers, soldiers, paramedics and handlers with trained search dogs.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said late Tuesday that Ottawa had not ruled out sending a DART to help with the recovery effort.
"All options are being considered. And from a defence perspective, we certainly are looking to (DART) as an option," she said.
"But I will say that there are a number of possible routes here, and we just want to make sure that what we do provide is useful."
With files from The Canadian Press
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