People across U.S. rush to aid Türkiye, Syria
In Medford, Massachusetts, boxes of winter clothing, baby formula, hygiene products and other supplies pile up at the Freerange Market, a gathering place for Turkish immigrants near Boston. The supplies are headed to survivors of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria on February 6.
Hundreds of people have donated more than 20 truckloads of supplies that have been shipped to Türkiye, according to the market’s owner, Cenk Emre. “It is just people getting together, neighbor telling neighbor, friend telling friend,” Emre told CBS News Boston.
In nearby Norwood, Valentina Akyol uses her restaurant’s catering vans to collect donations, including warm clothes and baby formula. “When you see people suffering, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are,” she told CBS. “If we can help in some way, that is what we should do.”
While the U.S. government has sent search and rescue crews to Türkiye and Syria and announced $85 million in emergency assistance, people across the United States are raising money and donating supplies to support long-term recovery from the earthquake.
Here are some of the places where people in the United States are rushing to support relief efforts.
New Yorkers donated hundreds of boxes of supplies, including clothes, diapers and building materials, at the Turkish Community Center in Brighton Beach. The Turkish Consulate in New York is delivering the supplies to earthquake survivors.
We commend our Turkish American Community including our associations, business leaders, elected officials and volunteers to work tirelessly as one to help organizing shipments of much needed help to Türkiye! 🇹🇷
📹: @vuralelibol pic.twitter.com/VIJg9hWIIf
— TR Consulate NewYork (@TRConsulNY) February 11, 2023
Volunteers gathered outside Türkiye’s embassy in Washington sorting clothes, medicine, batteries, shoes, baby formula and emergency equipment bound for affected communities.
“Our hearts are with the people in Türkiye and we know they’re in pain, and that causes us pain,” said Selma Sahin, an embassy volunteer who organized donations.
Moved to see Scott Timmester of the @usnavy, Selma Sahin, and so many others who are volunteering at the Turkish Embassy to organize and send donations to Turkiye and Syria after the deadly earthquakes. pic.twitter.com/HaUwIT4jTj
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 15, 2023
In the days after the earthquake, Abdulrahman Al-Dahhan traveled the United States raising money at schools, at houses of worship and on social media to support the humanitarian response.
Al-Dahhan, a Syrian American who works for the aid group Mercy-USA, based in Michigan, told CNN he has raised over $100,000 and that his colleagues abroad are using the money to support earthquake survivors.
The Chicago-based nonprofit Karam Foundation, which supports displaced Syrians, has raised over $800,000 for the earthquake response, according to its website. Karam and its associates are also delivering food baskets, blankets and mattresses to people in the earthquake-affected cities of Aleppo, Syria, and Hatay, Türkiye.
Thank you to @ChangeDAO for putting together Artquake, a collaborative NFT with proceeds going to Karam. Check out our team on the ground distributing critical aid. #earthquake #turkey #syria #hatay pic.twitter.com/HBio37wxu8
— Karam Foundation (@karamfoundation) February 11, 2023
Nechirvan Zebari, a Seattle baker, along with community volunteers, is selling manakish to raise funds for relief efforts. Zebari wants people to taste the dish, which is popular in Türkiye and Syria, while he raises money to support people in those countries. “We want to maximize the amount of money we can send there,” he told the Seattle Times.
Doctors and nurses from the Syrian American Medical Society, based in Ohio, have treated more than 2,000 earthquake survivors, according to the BBC.
The medical association, which suffered earthquake damage to four of its facilities, has over 1,700 staff members in Syria and is sending more workers to heavily affected areas.
Across California, people are collecting supplies for earthquake relief. Nil Noyan, of the Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California’s San Diego chapter, told the Wall Street Journal the group is collecting medical supplies, tents, blankets, sleeping bags and other cold weather gear for displaced survivors who face freezing temperatures.
Members of the Northern California Turkish American Association in East Palo Alto packed more than 200 boxes of donations to send to those affected by the earthquake.
The Northern California Turkish American Association packed up more than 200 boxes in East Palo Alto to send to people affected by recent quakes in Turkey. https://t.co/hXDPEBKxx7 pic.twitter.com/JAw2MnNaqC
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) February 13, 2023
Turkish American groups in North Texas sent nearly 9,000 kilograms of winter clothing, canned food, hygiene and baby items, and other supplies to Türkiye. “They are all galvanized and mobilized,” Serhad Varli, the Turkish consul general in Houston, told ABC News. “They act in unity to provide all the necessary help.”
The Perdue University Turkish Student Association is partnering with hundreds of U.S. universities to collect clothes, blankets and tents and raise money for earthquake victims. “We’ve raised around $220,000 so far together,” Kaan Cankiri, the association’s treasurer, told the Perdue Exponent.
Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief group based in Boone, North Carolina, opened a 52-bed emergency field hospital in Antakya, Türkiye, and began treating earthquake victims February 13.