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“A Turkish pastor in that region and his wife died in the earthquake while their 10-year old son survived.”
“A Turkish believer that we know lost several friends who were staying in a hotel that collapsed.”
“Today we witnessed a couple grieving in the street as they received messages, likely informing them of those who had died. It was heart-wrenching.”
“Someone we know has lost 24 relatives in the earthquakes.”
Our hearts break as we read these reports from our global workers in the region of the February 2023 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Immediately after the earthquakes, the top priority became pulling survivors from the rubble before the freezing temperatures got the best of them. The next priorities were providing medical care, food, and shelter to the survivors whose homes were gone. The roads leading towards the epicenter were full of vans and trucks, but traffic was slow-moving because the earthquake damage destroyed the roads.
One man who went to the site the next day said the destruction was unbelievable, and that there weren’t any government agencies helping in that area yet. Victims who were lucky enough to be found had to be transported long distances to hospitals in other cities. It seemed like every hour the death toll climbed higher and higher.
This was Turkey’s worst natural disaster in decades. The Turkish government shut down its schools for an entire week and declared a week of mourning.
Believers in Turkey have mobilized quickly, and Christian organizations have already sent countless vans with supplies, equipment, and volunteers to the area. Donation collection centers have popped up in the surrounding regions, and Turks everywhere have been buying up blankets, dry goods, jackets, flashlights, tents, etc. to send towards the epicenter. People have distributed blankets and jackets to those staying out on the streets. It has truly been a country-wide effort. News stations are calling the effort “One Heart.”
Several hotels and individuals are offering free housing throughout the region. One Ukrainian volunteer network in the area is encouraging its members to give to the relief effort, saying, “Turkey did not turn away from us in our time of need. It is our turn to help them.”
Global church, we need to pray.
The survivors’ journey to restoration will be a long and difficult one. As the press moves on to the next story, these people will remain in desperate need.
Thank you for keeping Turkey and Syria in your prayers. May this crisis become an opportunity for God to pour out His mercy on countless thousands who have yet to encounter Jesus’s love.
Please consider helping to provide relief for earthquake victims at EncompassWorldPartners.org/Earthquake.