Scots have donated more than £3m to help earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria within just 24 hours, as the death toll rose to 22,000.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched a major appeal to help those who lost their homes and loved ones in Monday’s quake, and almost £33m was raised in one day alone.
That included £3.2m from Scots – with the Scottish Government having contributed £500,000 to the relief effort.
The DEC, which includes 14 aid charities working in Turkey and Syria, took action as the death toll rose above 22,000, with more than 70,000 injured.
Sally Foster Fulton, from Christian Aid Scotland who is leading the appeal in Scotland, said the charities are “so grateful” to everyone who has already donated.
She said: “The stories we’re hearing from the survivors who have managed to escape the ruins of flattened and crumpled buildings without shoes and coats in the depths of winter are desperately sad.
“It is hard to grasp what they and their families are going through.
“But what we do know is that thanks to hugely generous support so far, help is already being delivered by 14 of our member charities in the region.
They are providing hot meals, blankets, and medical aid.
“One of the DEC’s members, Tearfund, and their partner in Aleppo, Syria, has opened three shelters for people who have lost their homes, providing warmth, shelter, hot meals, water and other essential items such as soap and toothpaste, blankets and warm clothing.
“So far, they are supporting around 1,000 people.
“But we can do more with further donations. If you are able – please help.”
Four days after the first earthquake – which struck while many people were sleeping and was followed by several aftershocks – aid agencies are working to help the 17 million people living in the affected parts of Turkey and Syria, many of whom have been left without shelter in freezing conditions, with food and clean water desperately needed.
The immediate priorities for the aid agencies in the area are the search and rescue effort, providing medical treatment for those who have been injured, and safe places to stay for those who have lost their homes, along with blankets, warm clothing and heaters.
Former James Bond star Daniel Craig, who voiced an appeal for the DEC, said: “The pictures and stories coming out of Turkey and Syria are horrifying.
“Thousands have died or been trapped in rubble, with many suffering life-changing injuries and countless more losing loved ones.
“People’s homes and belongings have been destroyed, leaving them without shelter in freezing winter conditions, and those buildings still standing are at risk of collapse.
“Access to clean water is difficult, bringing the risk of cholera and other diseases.
“Emergency responders and aid workers desperately need your donations to help with the rescue efforts and to ease some of this suffering.
“Even a small amount will make a huge difference – providing a warm blanket or a hot meal. Please give whatever you can.”