Turkey earthquake: Communities work together to donate aid

  • In Science
  • 2023-02-07 14:39:24Z
  • By BBC
People in Wiltshire donating clothes
People in Wiltshire donating clothes  

Communities have been pulling together to organise aid for victims of the "devastating" Turkey-Syria earthquake.

People across west England have set up collections for food, warm clothing and put out a call for volunteers to help with on-the-ground efforts.

Collection points at the Wiltshire Turkish Community Centre have been filling up fast and families in Bristol have been contacting relatives.

Bath rescuer Rob Davis said the impact had been like 2010's Haiti earthquake.

Rob Davis, Saraid worker
Rob Davis, Saraid worker  

"Heavy reinforced concrete buildings have been destroyed across the area," Mr Davis, a Search And Rescue Resistance In Disaster (SARAID) worker, said.

"The added complication is that it happened when people were in bed so their reaction time was much slower.

"It's devastating. It's our job now to go and locate those people who are trapped."

Mehmet Guvercin Chairman Turkish Wiltshire Community
Mehmet Guvercin Chairman Turkish Wiltshire Community  

Mehmet Guvercin, chair of Turkish Wiltshire Community (TWC), said: "Most of the Turkish and Kurdish community here have friends or family who have been directly affected.

"A couple of friends of mine have been confirmed dead, another friend of mine lost his wife, mother and two sisters.

"Over the next few days we will know more on what has happened to other people."

Tugba Aliya Altun, of Turkish Wiltshire Community
Tugba Aliya Altun, of Turkish Wiltshire Community  

Tugba Aliya Altun, also of TWC, said: "We have packed everything from baby food, to nappies and adults' clothing, everything.

"I'm feeling wrecked but this is easing my pain just a little because I know I'm helping."

Henry Aslan, from Bristol, said that when he heard news of the quake he immediately called his family, who live in northern Istanbul.

Volunteers filling the back of a van with supplies
Volunteers filling the back of a van with supplies  

"They didn't feel anything but the east side is terrible," he said.

"To the people who have lost their families, I'm so sorry.

"My brother is in Turkey and he has got trucks. This morning I told him, fill up your truck, get food and drive it to the east side."

'People are scared'

International operations manager for Wiltshire-based charity Re:Act Disaster Response, Paul Taylor said his teams were set to arrive in Turkey on Wednesday morning.

"The first thing that we can do is ascertain the needs of the affected population," he said.

"It is likely to be in these early stages, medical support, water and critically because of the temperatures, shelter.

"People are scared. Psychologically it can be very demanding.

"The first phase is a search and rescue phase. On the back of that, they will then address humanitarian needs."

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