Olympic Movement announces USD one million emergency fund to help Olympic community, refugees and displaced people in areas affected by earthquake in Türkiye and Syria
10 Feb 2023 – Following the devastating earthquake that recently hit Türkiye and Syria, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) will donate a total of USD one million to help the Olympic community in the areas affected by the natural disaster. The IOC and OCA will each give USD 250,000, EOC will give EUR 250,000, while the ORF will make available an additional amount of USD 260,000 for immediate emergency assistance to the local population and refugees in Türkiye.
“It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the tragic loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake that has struck the south-eastern region of Türkiye and Syria. I have spoken to the NOC President of Türkiye and the NOC President of Syria, and have heard from them about the impact the earthquake has had on many members of the Olympic community. Unfortunately there are a number of athletes and members of the Olympic community among the victims, while many others have lost their homes and sports infrastructure has been heavily damaged,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
“We discussed how best to support the members of the Olympic community. As a result of the conversations, we have agreed with the OCA, the EOC and the ORF to take immediate action,” the IOC President added. “Our first-response emergency assistance in Türkiye will channelled through the Olympic Refuge Foundation and their partners on site. In Syria, we will work with international NGOs and UN agencies that are able to access the affected areas. We have learnt that the biggest need at the moment is for food, medicine and tents.”
The Olympic Refuge Foundation has immediately released funds from the first-year funding of its Sport for Solidarity programme, one of its biggest programmes currently running in Türkiye. Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), the UNHCR and the Turkish Olympic Committee, the Sport for Solidarity programme uses sport to help young refugees and asylum seekers feel safe and protected, while building links with their local communities. It is being delivered in seven of the most densely populated cities in Türkiye, including the areas most affected by the earthquake (Mersin, Sanliurfa and Adana), where a large Syrian refugee population is also present. In consideration of the devastating impact on them, their families and the host community, the ORF contribution, originally planned to support the programme, will now be used for humanitarian assistance, such as providing clothes, blankets, food and shelter.