People across the United States are donating supplies and raising money to assist earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria in various ways, according to a blog article on the website of the US State Department.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake leveled buildings and has so far killed more than 40,000 people in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria.
The United States has flown in some 200 rescuers and contributed an initial $85 million in relief for Turkey, deploying Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters to bring supplies to the worst-hit areas.
At the Freerange Market, in Medford, Massachusetts, hundreds of people have donated winter clothing, baby formula, hygiene products and other necessities. Truckloads of supplies have shipped to Turkey, according to Cenk Emre, owner of the market, which serves as a gathering place for Turkish immigrants near Boston.
“It is just people getting together, neighbor telling neighbor, friend telling friend,” Emre told CBS News Boston.
Setting up hospitals
Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief group, based in Boone, North Carolina, opened a 52-bed emergency field hospital in Antakya, one of the hardest-hit cities in the earthquake, and began treating earthquake victims on Feb. 13.
Doctors and nurses from the Syrian American Medical Association, based in Ohio, have treated more than 2,000 earthquake survivors, according to the BBC.
The medical association, which suffered earthquake damage to four of its facilities, has over 1,700 staff in Syria and is sending more workers to heavily affected areas.
Nechirvan Zebari, a Seattle baker, along with community volunteers, is selling Manakish, a popular Levantine food consisting of dough topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat, to raise funds for relief efforts. Zebari wants people to taste the dish that is popular in Turkey and Syria while raising money to support people in those countries. “We want to maximize the amount of money we can send there,” he told the Seattle Times.
Sending emergency supplies
In the days after the earthquake, volunteers gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Washington sorting clothes, medicine, batteries, shoes, baby formula and emergency equipment bound for affected communities.
“Our hearts are with the people in Turkey and we know they’re in pain, and that causes us pain,” said Selma Şahin, an embassy volunteer who organized donations.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel Sunday to Turkey to discuss support after the massive earthquake, his first trip to the NATO ally, which has had turbulent relations with Washington.
Blinken will visit İncirlik Airbase, through which the United States has shipped aid, and then hold talks in Ankara on “continued US support,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday.
The top US diplomat will also take part in the Munich Security Conference, where the Ukraine war and tensions with China will take center stage, and will visit Turkey’s historic rival Greece, a fellow NATO ally.