The Yukon government has announced funding support for survivors of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
On Feb. 6, deadly earthquakes swept across southeast Turkey and northwestern region of Syria killing more than 55,000 people, while millions have been displaced and in urgent need for shelter, food, clean water and sanitation.
To support the resettlement of people affected by the natural disaster, the Yukon government donated $25,000 to Yukon Cares, a local group of volunteers working to bring refugee families to the territory.
“We will respond to each request that we receive and address individual or family needs,” said Robin Fairburn, co-chair of Yukon Cares.
“These may include assistance with paperwork, registering children for school, accessing government services, familiarizing them with the community and supports that are available.”
The support program for survivors of the earthquake will be offered for one year. Fairburn said Yukon Cares is making preparations to receive newcomers to the territory.
“We have found the Whitehorse community as a whole to be welcoming, generous and eager to assist newcomers,” she said.
Fairburn said the group works in collaboration with the United Church to organize fundraisers and provide settlement services.
A support desk has been set up to provide help and resources to those impacted by the earthquake.
“This temporary measure will offer information on immigration and family reunification, connect employers with arriving immigrants and help new Yukoners find employment opportunities,” according to a government statement.
The statement said the government will prioritize applications under the Yukon Nominee Program from eligible nationals of Turkey and Syria, using an existing immigration pathway to support people from the affected regions to find employment in the Yukon and will complement federal support prioritizing processing temporary and permanent residency applications for Turkish and Syrian nationals impacted by the earthquakes.
Premier Ranj Pillai said Yukoners stand with the people of Turkey and Syria following the earthquakes, adding that since the incident, the government has been working to help survivors.
“Through the donation to Yukon Cares as well as additional help and resources for those impacted, our government is taking action to support those in need while strengthening the Yukon as a place for everyone to call home,” he said.
The Yukon has hosted refugees fleeing war and other natural disasters. Most recently, victims of the war in Ukraine have been arriving in the territory and receiving support and integration resources from Yukon Cares and other local organizations.
Contact Patrick Egwu at firstname.lastname@example.org