Home / News / Ikea Foundation sends shelters to Syria and Turkey as firms offer earthquake aid

Ikea Foundation sends shelters to Syria and Turkey as firms offer earthquake aid

Oct 20, 2023Oct 20, 2023

First relief housing units arrive in Hatay province, Amazon sends food and blankets and Allianz donates €6m

The Ikea Foundation has sent 5,000 flatpack shelters to southern Turkey and northern Syria to house people left homeless by the earthquake last week, as companies around the world pledge help.

The Swedish homeware multinational's philanthropy arm said on Tuesday it had donated €10m (£8.8m) to the NGO Better Shelter, with which it developed the robust, award-winning 17.5 sq metre shelters that fit in two boxes and can be assembled without tools.

"As the devastating impact of the earthquake unfolds, it is clear that our collective efforts are required to support the many children and families left without a home and access to basic necessities of life," said the foundation's chief executive, Per Heggenes. "The need for safe, dignified shelter against the cold and freezing temperatures is urgent and growing."

The first of the so-called relief housing units have arrived in Turkey's southern Hatay province and some were erected overnight, the foundation said. Last week the foundation donated another €10m to Médecins Sans Frontières for healthcare assistance.

The modular shelters serve as temporary homes, classrooms and clinics in more than 80 countries, including Ukraine, Bangladesh and Colombia. More than 10,000 have been erected in Syria for internally displaced people fleeing the civil war.

The UN has said up to 13.5 million people have been affected by the 7.8-magnitude quake and aftershocks, with up to 5.3 million estimated to have been left homeless in Syria and more than 1 million in tents and temporary shelters in Turkey.

Dozens of other companies have said they are donating aid including food, medicine, services and money.

Amazon began sending shipments of baby food, blankets, tents and medicines through its Istanbul warehouse last week. The company has now set up a full-scale disaster relief hub outside the city and is sending $600,000 to NGOs including the World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children, Unicef, the Turkish and Emirates Red Crescents and Turkish search and rescue groups.

Google's chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said the company had activated SOS alerts to ensure "relevant emergency information" reached people affected, and it was supporting relief and recovery efforts. Apple's Tim Cook said his company was donating.

Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said it was donating $550,000 aimed at assisting aid and recovery in Turkey and Syria, while the Irish-American consultancy group Accenture has donated $1m to humanitarian NGOs.

The US oil multinational Chevron said it was donating $1m in aid, the courier UPS has set aside $1m for logistical support for aid shipments, and FedEx has pledged similar logistical backing and also donated $100,000 to the Turkish Red Crescent.

The German financial services group Allianz is donating €6m and will also add €1m staff donations, while Deutsche Telekom has made calls and text messages from Germany to Turkey and Syria free of charge and donated €1m to a relief project.

The pharmaceuticals company Bayer has set up a €1.5m disaster fund, including a donation of €200,000 to the German Red Cross for aid in Syria, and launched an employee donation fund that it will match.

Mercedes-Benz is donating €1m to the Red Cross, while Porsche and Volkswagen are giving similar amounts to a Germany humanitarian aid platform. Germany is home to the world's largest Turkish community outside Turkey.

The German flag carrier Lufthansa has launched aid flights to Turkey, while the Danish shipping firm Maersk has donated 1,000 shipping containers to carry shipments of clothes, blankets and food.

Inditex, the parent company of the fashion brands Zara, Pull&Bear, Bershka and Massimo Dutti, said it was donating €3m to aid groups active in Turkey and Syria, as well as giving 500,000 coats, jackets and jumpers to the Turkish Red Crescent.

3 months old