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WA community members collecting donations following deadly earthquake in Turkey, Syria

WA community members collecting donations following deadly earthquake in Turkey, Syria 02:19

SEATTLE, February 6, 2023 - Members of Washington's Turkish American community are organizing relief efforts after a devastating earthquake left thousands of people dead in the Middle East.

The Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington is launching a relief fund to get help to people on the ground in the southeast part of the country.

"It's a big, big, big catastrophe," said TACAWA President Tufan Erdinc. "Our goal is to collect as much as we can, and send that support as quickly as we can, so that there is no delay in supporting those people there."

In the wake of the deadliest earthquake to hit Turkey since 1999, Erdinc has been busy getting in touch with loved ones, officials, and community members throughout the Pacific Northwest who may have been impacted.

"We spent the whole night basically on our phones, on our mobile devices, on our social media accounts." Erdinc continued, "my wife's family basically lives very close, you know, a couple of hundreds of kilometers from the center of the earthquake. Fortunately, they're all fine, but they had to spend the night outside."

It's a situation made all the more difficult by harsh winter weather in the region, affecting rescue crews as they race against the clock.

"People there, they need a lot of help, especially to survive the upcoming days," said Erdinc. "As time passes, it gets really difficult, it ends up, you know, looking for miracles and stuff like that."

TACAWA also plans to collect blankets, tents, sleeping bags, and medicine in the coming days.

"We are going to try to do our best, and we just ask, you know, people also to contribute to these efforts in whatever way they see fit," Erdinc said.

You can learn more about TACAWA's earthquake relief fund by following this link. Erdinc says a number of national nonprofits like Turkish Philanthropy Funds are collecting donations as well.

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