“The first floor in my Istanbul house is empty. I am available to provide shelter and food for anyone who needs it.
This is only one of the many posts shared in a Facebook group that offers shelter and food for those who were affected by Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey.
The page was originally used to provide advice on how to use an earthquake detection app. It’s now flooded with people offering help, shelter, and food to victims of the disaster.
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Many thousands of people in Turkey are without food and water because of severe weather.
Some civilians are now taking matters into their own hands and creating online groups to help spread the word about shelter and aid, as well as missing persons.
The post, which featured two users giving up their homes, was shared by over 5,000 members.
Over the past week, around 500 people joined the Facebook page. The current membership is over 5,000.
Other channels have been set up for people who need support after the earthquake.
“No one should be idle. Perhaps we can help someone in need. Let them know we are there for them. Perhaps we will raise our voice,” said one post about a Telegram channel that was created Monday and now has more than 200 members.
Since Monday’s creation, Sky News, one of the most popular channels on Telegram, has attracted over 4,000 subscribers. It has been used to exchange tens of thousands messages by civilians.
This channel is broken into sections for information-sharing in each affected city.
One of the many posts in the forum is this:
We have 200 rooms available for people who are visiting Diyarbakir. All expenses are free. Get in touch with me
Our hotel rooms that can accommodate 100 people are empty. We can offer accommodation, food, and heating. “Contact me,” read another.
This bus company and other Turkish companies have offered their support to the group.
Murat, 22, claims he doesn’t have a humanitarian background, but believes that the skills he gained from managing large social media channels in his past could be of use to others.
Sky News interviewed him and said, “This is the true definition of helping people.”
“People trapped in debris tried to make their voices heard on places such as Instagram and Twitter. He said that as a country, we are working to respond to their requests by providing information through WhatsApp and Telegram groups that are easily accessible and jointly by authorities.
Turkey is experiencing more powerful earthquakes. The WHO warns that the death toll could reach over 20,000.
Local aid organizations also assist civilians in accessing online information.
The interactive map, created by Ahbap Dernegi, shows “Earthquake Safe Zones”, which are institutions that opened their doors to earthquake victims on Monday.
These forums are not only for information about shelter and aid.
The groups are being used by desperate relatives to search for information about missing loved ones. They also share digital missing posters with photos and addresses.
Sky News decided to not republish these images in respect of the families.
However, the forums are being used to publish lists that users claim include names and dates for those who have been saved.
One list listed the names and ages 89 people who were taken to Ankara for treatment.
Another message was seen in several Telegram and WhatsApp groups. It listed 600 names, which it claimed were being treated at Mersin City Hospital on Turkey’s southern coast.
Sky News was unable to verify the information independently.
After Monday’s catastrophic earthquake, more than 6,300 people have been confirmed dead in Turkey and northern Syria.
Although rescuers in both countries are tirelessly working to find survivors under the rubble, difficult weather conditions have prevented many from receiving help.
Sky News’ Data and Forensics unit is multi-skilled and dedicated to transparent journalism. To tell data-driven stories, we gather, analyse, and visualise data. Our traditional reporting skills are combined with advanced analysis of satellite imagery, social media, and other open-source information. Multimedia storytelling allows us to tell the story of our journalism and help people understand it.