Even as it continues to rise, the number of fatalities from the horrible earthquake that shook large parts of Turkey and Syria defies comprehension, and the number of those injured and left homeless is many times that number. Many children have lost their families and will need to be provided for. Heartbreaking seems too mild a word!
Addressing this urgent humanitarian need is the first priority, and we urge you to support relief efforts however you can. There is a list of international aid agencies on this page from the Aga Khan Development Network.
Humanitarian aid is and must be the priority, but the horrifying dimensions of the humanitarian disaster are multiplied when we remember that the affected region is extraordinarily rich in cultural heritage sites. Indeed, there are at least nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the area impacted by the quake, as well as countless other historic sites.
It will probably be some time before anyone is able to conduct a systematic assessment of damage to historic sites. In the meantime, the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (AKDC@MIT) is accepting reports of damaged or destroyed historic structures in the region and assembling them into an Archnet collection that will serve as a reminder of the long, rich history of the region.
We have launched an appeal for information on historic structures damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, as well as media documenting this destruction. By completing a short form, you will help us keep Archnet current, raising awareness of important sites and the perils they face. Please note that there may be a delay before your submission appears in Archnet as we must verify all reports before making them public.
Thank you, in advance, for your assistance.