These D.C.-area organizations are accepting donations for Turkey and Syria
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck parts of Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing at least 2,200 people and injuring 8,000 others. Since the initial quake, the U.S. Geological Survey has recorded at least 30 major aftershocks — including one of 7.5 magnitude. While rescue crews are working on the ground to help survivors, organizers in the D.C. region are coordinating fundraising efforts to provide support.
The American Turkish Association of Washington D.C. has established the Kahramanmaras Earthquake Relief Fund to raise $50,000. The organization says the funds will allow first responders to provide survivors with food, fuel, clean water, medicine, and shelter.
Gizem White, the president of Turkish Coffee Lady and a board member of the American Turkish Association of D.C., says time is of the essence when it comes to organizing help.
"People are panicked and even the hospitals are damaged," says White, who has family in Turkey. "So it's just a human crisis going on right now. And as a community, we're trying to raise funds and trying to do as much as we can."
It's a particularly difficult time for many people to be without shelter, as winter conditions affect the region hit by the earthquake. To help, the Turkish Embassy in D.C. has set up an in-kind donation drive. Volunteers are being asked to stop by the embassy at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW to drop off blankets, tents, sleeping bags, pocket warmers, and winter clothing.
The embassy is also requesting over-the-counter painkillers, and cold and flu medicine. Donations will be sent quickly to the country through Turkish Airlines, embassy officials said in a statement.
The Diyanet Center of America in Lanham has organized its own relief fund to provide emergency supplies to Turkey. The organization was founded in 1993 by the local Turkish community in Prince George's County. Donations are currently being accepted through an online form.
In Adams Morgan, Turkish restaurant Mezè is directing people to donate to support AKUT, a search and rescue organization in the country. They say the first responder group composed of mostly volunteers needs fuel, equipment, and more supplies.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has opened a fund that will allow its partners in the region to provide direct help to victims in both Turkey and Syria.
"As a Jewish community, it is our sacred obligation to respond," Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, said in a statement.
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