BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Piles of donations lined the front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington Friday for those affected by Monday’s deadly earthquakes. The 7.8-magnitude quakes destroyed thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria.
Officials confirm the death toll has risen to over 23,000 people, the deadliest earthquake in over a decade.
The quakes are bringing up unsettling memories for those who lived in Turkey during earthquakes in the 90s, triggering a need to help those in need – but also bringing awareness to just how scary the act of nature continues to be.
University of Alabama Geology Professor Dr. Ibrahim Cemen says that aftershocks can slow down the rescue efforts of patrols on the ground.
Aynur Vloon works with Turkish Alabamians and experienced the natural phenomenon personally after earthquakes struck Turkey in 1999. She said any time she was inside following the initial hit, she would watch a glass of water to know when to take cover for fear of the worst happening again.
“This earthquake brought me that memory, memories, but this was much worse,” Vloon said. “Watching right now every single thing I saw brings back that emotion.”
These feelings include anger that this is happening in her country again – but helplessness because help can’t get there fast enough.
“We don’t want to waste anything of what we do – just make sure the people who needs gets the need,” Vloon said.
The Turkish American Association of Alabama has been taking the time to vet organizations to compile a list of the best places to send help.
“We are individually trying to every person trying to find an organization we can trust to bring much-needed stuff to people who need it,” Vloon said.
Alabamaturks.org is the website to go to where they have listed all the organizations they have vetted and trust for you to help – because the needs can change, and they want to make sure what you give gets into the right hands. Ultimately, Vloon said the nonprofit wants to help with long-term efforts, perhaps by even building something for the victims of the earthquakes.