As a response to the catastrophic earthquakes in East Turkey and as a gesture of solidarity with the network’s member firms based in Istanbul and Ankara, Russell Bedford International has donated £5,000 to The Foundation of Anatolian People and Peace Platform (AHBAP Charity).
Recommended by the network’s local member firms in Turkey, AHBAP is a leading charity founded to help those in need and has been extremely responsive and supportive in the affected regions of the natural disaster.
On Monday, 6 February 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit near the city of Gaziantep just after 4am local time. Numerous aftershocks followed, including one with a magnitude of 7.5 that shook the area the same day in the middle of search and rescue operations.
AHBAP volunteers arrived in the affected areas just hours after the first deadly earthquake and has since worked continuously in coordination with the Turkey Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, governors’ offices and municipalities and local volunteers to rescue as many survivors as possible.
The foundation has provided food, water, tents, generators, mobile trucks for personal hygiene needs, while also organising and announcing institutions and businesses that opened their doors to people who lost their homes after the earthquakes. AHBAP further encouraged and organised people to donate blood for the treatment of tens of thousands injured in the quakes.
In addition to this donation, the network encourages Russell Bedford members, who may feel powerless to the overwhelming human suffering, to support organisations such as AHBAP, who are doing their best to ensure comfort and aid to those in dire need at this challenging time.
Speaking about the devastation, Senior Manager at the Istanbul member firm, Ziya Deniz Şenalp, said: ‘The recent earthquakes have devastatingly affected more than 13 million people’s lives, with more than 40,000 dead and tens of thousands still under rubble. Even though it is impossible to fully ease the pain for their losses, the focus must now be placed on helping those affected. We are so grateful to hear that Russell Bedford International made a donation from its RB Cares fund this year to support the victims of the earthquake - it will help immensely.’
He added: ‘In the accountancy profession, so far, more than 100 CPAs and CPA candidates are identified as having lost their lives, and more than 1000 CPAs have lost their homes and offices. As the network’s member firm in Istanbul, it is our obligation to help them in any way possible. We have made a donation and are planning to provide jobs and shelter to those directly affected. We are encouraging all member firms to join in this effort.’
Aslan Kaya, Partner at the Ankara member firm, further expressed: "It is painful to see, innocent lives were sacrificed yet again. Amongst this devastation, what brings us hope is the vast support we have received from over 100 countries and thousands of organisations, like Russell Bedford International. Our people are deeply grateful to those who stand in solidarity with us, so we rebuild our future together.”
Russell Bedford CEO, Stephen Hamlet commented: "When we first established the 'RB Cares' initiative, we had no idea what situations would arise around the world in years to come. Unfortunately, each year there are always a number of causes that desperately need help; whether these be due to natural disaster, economic downfall or a crisis requiring humanitarian aid. When we started seeing video footage of the devastation in Turkey and Syria, caused by the earthquake in early February this year, it was heart-breaking. We reached out to our Russell Bedford colleagues in Ankara and Istanbul and, although they were safe and not directly affected, it was clear that this had a terrible impact on the whole country, and we knew we had to do something. "
Stephen continued: "Every year when we make a contribution through our 'RB Cares' campaign, however small in the scheme of things, it makes me proud that we are doing a little something and, together with others, we can really make a difference. This year Russell Bedford is helping in Turkey and we pray for all those who have suffered so significantly."