I woke up to bad news. There was a severe earthquake in my home country. 7.8 they are saying, the biggest in that region since 1999.
I anxiously call my family, ask if they are okay. I can’t reach my grandmother but my mom says she has been evacuated in a mosque. First in Elbistan, Kahramanmaras, then Hatay, Malatya, Mersin and Gaziantep. All these cities pop up, more earthquakes are expected they say.
It hit Syria (and adjacent states) as well, and I know they have even less access to help. My messages are exploding. I check on my Turkish and Syrian friends. So many of them can’t reach anyone. Some know their aunts and cousins are under the ruins, unable to move.
“Our home and my father’s workplace are destroyed,” another one is saying. I can’t stop scrolling on social media and I can’t stop crying. The streets are so damaged that trucks can’t reach people. The streets are full of supply boxes but there is no systematic approach to contribute. Work machines and specialists are needed.
“We hear them screaming for help, but we are unable to move the rubbles” are the reports. The picture of Mesut Hancer holding his daughter’s hand is everywhere. I am desperate to help but the only thing I can do is donate and pray that rescue will be reached on time. I am going to college, but I can’t think of anything else.
“If not from the injuries, they will die of the cold” they are saying. I feel guilty sleeping in my warm bed, seeing all these requests for help on Instagram while the world is busy watching the Grammys.
But I also feel hope. Despite all political differences, when a disaster hits, we unite. Everyone starts a helping campaign. Rescue teams from all over the world send their troops. Medical aids and psychological support are organized. Local shops and restaurants distribute food and hygiene products for free. Search troops are looking for remaining lives. It is a hard time for our countries, but I know we will get through this together.
Reliable donations for Syria: UNICEF (https://www.unicef.org/) or NGOs like Molham Volunteering Team e.V.
Reliable donations for Türkiye: UNICEF (https://www.unicef.org/) or NGOs like Time to help (Paypal.me/TimetoHelp)