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Nassau County spearheading fundraising effort for earthquake victims in Turkey

Nassau County collecting donations for earthquake victims in Turkey
Nassau County collecting donations for earthquake victims in Turkey 02:43

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- New video coming out of Turkey shows the impact of the earthquake miles beyond the epicenter.

The destruction has killed more than 40,000 people in both Turkey and Syria. Incredibly, survivors continue to be pulled from the rubble nine days later.

With millions in dire need of aid, Nassau County, with its large Turkish-American population, is spearheading a fundraising effort.

The county's Turkish-American community, the second largest in the nation behind New Jersey's, is in grief over staggering losses. No one is unscathed.

READ MORE: Queens family among over 20,000 killed in earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

Salma Salazar's sister, brother-in-law and two beloved nephews perished.

"We are truly hurting. Although we lost our family members, we understand that there are people that are waiting to be rescued, and we are broken," she said.

The Firik family of four, from Queens, was visiting relatives in Turkey when their building collapsed.

As dozens gathered in Nassau on Wednesday, asking all to participate in humanitarian aid, surviving relatives in Turkey spoke via a translator.

"They are continuously in dire need of working operators and machinery to help people who are still stuck underneath the rubble," the translator said.

"We wish that we can take all those people that are homeless and take them into our own homes," Port Washington resident Iman Islam said.

The best way to honor those lost, say survivors, is to help those in need.

READ MORE: Turkey-Syria earthquake 2023: How to help the victims

Every dollar will help in the urgent rescue effort and years of rebuilding, says reality TV restauranteur Zach Erdem.

"Large-sized coffee and a small sandwich is like ... $20. All I'm asking is just one day skip in your life to donate to the people who ... lost everything," he said.

Along with much needed prayers, consulates are collecting specific items such as tents and blankets, but for the most immediate impact?

"As Americans, probably the best thing we can do is make a monetary contribution," Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

The saddened community is heartened to see nations working together.

"Israel sent, like, 250 people ... Greece government, they sent almost 150," said Erol Akyurek, with New York Turkish American Centers. "All of a sudden, they united, they became partners together, they help each other. It's making, like, I feel good."

Nearly 1,000 tons of relief materials have been collected in the United States. Those leading the effort request the same outpouring of monetary help.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey in New York says donations can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • Manhattan: The Turkish House -- 821 United Nations Plaza, NY 10017, between 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Nassau County: Islamic Center of Long Island -- 385 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury, NY, 11590
  • Nassau County: Masjid Hamza Islamic Center -- 202 Stuart Ave., Valley Stream, NY, 11580

All donations will be transported to the Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey in New York. Items needed include: Blankets, tents, toiletries, sleeping bags, pocket warmers, winter clothing, flu and cold medicine. For more information, click here.

Nassau County is sharing a list of vetted agencies for monetary donations:

For Syrian specific aid, please visit the American Coalition for Syria (ACS) website for organizations to donate to:

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