With the death toll from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria approaching 40,000 people, aid groups around the world continue banding together. YachtAid Global has launched Operation Lalesi as its own response, mobilizing relief from the yachting industry and owners’ teams.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred on February 6, leading to catastrophic destruction. Rescue workers continue finding a few people alive in Turkey, while Syria’s civil-defense volunteer organization has ceased its rescue efforts. Nevertheless, thousands of people remain homeless and injured.
Though the earthquake occurred far from the superyacht-friendly cruising regions and shipyards, it’s raised concern among many in the yachting community. Capt. Mark Drewelow, the founder of YachtAid Global, recalled happy times in Turkey more than 20 years ago. He posted the following on social media:
“Back in 1997, I spent six months in Turkey as captain of M/Y Dorothea. Cruised the entire coast from Antalya to Istanbul and three months in a shipyard in Tuzla. Fantastic experience… history, food, natural beauty, culture, and the best part, the people. Now we are on a position to help those that give use of their land, sea, and spirit.”
Operation Lalesi (“tulip” in English) is amassing both funds and physical resources to lend much-needed assistance. Specifically, YachtAid Global is striving to provide shelters as well as infant foods, medications, and medical supplies. As an all-volunteer non-profit, the organization regularly coordinates needs with non-government organizations, sending word to dozens of superyacht owners, crewmembers, and industry professionals.
From providing typhoon disaster relief in far-away countries to mobilizing nearly 1,000 crewmembers to lend aid during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, YachtAid Global has enlisted more than 300 yachts for its humanitarian-aid and conservation responses. It’s done so in more than 25 countries, too. “We will provide updates as we progress through our disaster-relief response-assessment process,” reads a statement on the Operation Lalesi page on its website.
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