SURVIVORS of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria will be receiving vital emergency supplies, thanks to a charity grant.

Cheshire Freemasons and other Freemasons across the country have donated £60,000 to British Red Cross, UK for UNHCR and UNICEF who are leading the relief effort on the ground.

So far more than 33,000 people have been confirmed dead but the United Nations' aid agency fears the final death toll is likely to be at least double that figure.

It is a week since two quakes devastated large areas of south west Turkey and Syria.

Tens of thousands of survivors are sleeping in the open in temperatures which have fallen well below zero.

Snow is falling in some parts as the region experiences colder than average winter weather that is also hampering rescue efforts.

Luke Tredget, head of emergencies from the British Red Cross, said: “We’re very grateful for this generous grant which will allow us to provide immediate emergency relief to people who are in desperate need.

“This disaster has devastated vast areas of both countries and left millions of people in urgent need of help.”

Damage from the quake has affected at least seven provinces in Turkey as well as across northwest Syria.

Thousands of homes have been destroyed, displacing families, and schools, hospitals, and other medical and educational facilities will have been damaged or destroyed by the quakes.

Potential damage to roads and critical infrastructure will also complicate search and rescue efforts and the wider humanitarian response.

The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends from across England and Wales.

David Dyson, head of Cheshire Freemasons said “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help the Red Cross, UNICEF and the UNHCR with their relief effort following this terrible earthquake.

“Many thousands of people are in very urgent need of assistance and I’m proud that Freemasons are providing essential support to charities on the ground working with survivors.”