Members of Sacramento's Turkish community prepare relief efforts after devastating earthquake
SACRAMENTO — Members of the Turkish community in Sacramento are preparing their local relief efforts while organizations across California prepare to make the trip to earthquake-stricken Turkey.
Samet Kaya has found an appreciation for Sacramentans.
"There are some people that know Turkish people work in this restaurant, and today, we had many guests that drove 30 minutes, an hour away from here to donate for Turkey," he said.
Kaya grew up in Gaziantep, a city of roughly 3 million people at the center of a string of deadly earthquakes.
"There are many people that cannot reach electricity, water, food, shelter because the aftershocks are still continuing," Kaya said.
As he communicates with family back home, he's felt support from people in his new home.
"We are so emotional right now, and when we see that support from around Sacramento, it makes us more emotional," Kaya said. Tuesday. "Today, a lady just gave me $200 to send to my mom. She said, 'Send this to your mom.' "
The series of quakes have been devastating in Turkey.
"This is something you can compare to the Haitian earthquake in 2010," Dr. Kit Miyamoto said.
Dr. Miyamoto has been at the forefront of structural engineering and disaster management for decades.
"This is only the first two days now and you're going to see much more unfortunate news coming out from there," he said. "Much more buildings that you're going to see."
He is preparing to head to Turkey himself this week. His team has already been dispatched.
"In the industrial areas, there's quite a bit of damage there and those have to essentially be restored quickly," Dr. Miyamoto said.
The hope is that they will be able to help wherever possible.
"It comes down to each of us to be the first responders to help," Dr. Miyamoto said. "That's actually closer to best practice and that's something that the Turkish people are doing."
While back in Sacramento, Kaya is a part of a small but proud Turkish American community that is ready to give back.
"Thanks to God, my mom and my family is alive and in better conditions than thousands of other people," Kaya said. "We are going to send all the money that we collect back to Turkey. I hope there will be more rescue teams over there."
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