Earthquake in Turkey: Communities work together to provide relief

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People in Wiltshire donated clothes and supplies

The communities came together to organize aid for the victims of the “devastating” earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

People across the west of England set up collections for food and warm clothes, and called on volunteers to help the local effort.

Collection points at the Wiltshire Turkish Community Center were quickly filled and families in Bristol are contacting relatives.

Bath lifeguard Rob Davis said the impact was similar to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Rob Davis and his team spent 10 days in Haiti in 2010 to assess whether the building was safe to use

“Heavy reinforced concrete buildings were destroyed throughout the area,” said Mr Davis, a Search and Rescue Disaster Response Force (SARAID) worker.

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

“It’s devastating. It is our job now to find the people who are trapped.”

Mehmet Guvercin said that some of his friends died in the earthquake

Mehmet Guvercin, President of Wiltshire Turkish Community (TWC), said: “Most members of the Turkish and Kurdish community here have friends or family who are directly affected.

“A few of my friends have been confirmed dead, another friend lost his wife, mother and two brothers.

“In the coming days we will learn more about what happened to other people.”

Tugba Aliya Altun said her community is helping in any way they can

Tugba Aliya Altun, also from TWC, said: “They packed everything from baby food to nappies to clothes for adults, everything.

“I feel devastated, but this lessens my pain just a little because I know I’m helping.”

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

Volunteers from the Wiltshire Turkish Community Center have been filling vans with supplies destined for Turkey

“They didn’t feel anything, but the east side is terrible,” he said.

“I am very sorry for the people who lost their families.

“My brother is in Turkey and he has trucks. I told him this morning, get your truck, get some groceries and drive it to the east side.”

“People are afraid”

Wiltshire-based Re:Act Disaster Response charity international operations manager Paul Taylor said his teams would arrive in Turkey on Wednesday morning.

“The first thing we can do is to identify the needs of the affected population,” he said.

“It is likely that in these early stages medical supplies, water and shelter due to the temperatures will be critical.

“People are afraid. Psychologically, it can be very exhausting.

“The first phase is a search and rescue phase. Based on this, they will then address the humanitarian needs.”

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