Vancouver’s Turkish community joins forces to raise funds for earthquake survivors

Vancouver’s Turkish community joins forces to raise funds for earthquake survivors

VANCOUVER — Donations are pouring right into a Vancouver warehouse for victims of Monday’s devastating earthquake in Turkey, however a volunteer organizer says the nation might most profit from skilled search-and-rescue groups.

“The next 72 hours are critical,” mentioned Cansoy Gurocak, who was considered one of dozens of volunteers donating meals, clothes, tents, sleeping luggage, diapers and different objects to a charity that shall be utilized by the Canadian Turkish Academic and was shortly coordinated by Cultural Basis.

Turkey and Syria had been each rocked by Monday’s large earthquake, sparking worldwide aid efforts that now embrace a $10 million pledge from the Canadian authorities and search and rescue groups from the US.

Gurokak, who has lived in Canada for 13 years, mentioned he first heard the information from a cellphone name from his mom in Turkey shortly after the quake.

“She told me it was one of the strongest experiences she’s ever had in her life,” he mentioned. “I known as my uncle. He mentioned his home was destroyed. I known as my aunt, similar scenario.

He says he has hardly been ready to sleep within the days following the quake.

Gurkok and different members of Vancouver’s Turkish community got here to a warehouse in Vancouver’s industrial district on Tuesday to acquire donations for victims of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that killed greater than 7,500 folks and left town in ruins.

He mentioned he was grateful to hear that the Authorities of Canada has dedicated to offering $10 million to aid efforts, however having skilled search and rescue personnel on the bottom would make a right away affect.

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However, he mentioned, after the search and rescue efforts, the following vital step is to construct shelters for these displaced by the earthquake, then distribute donations of meals and clothes, and solely then will money donations make a distinction.

“It will take years, not days, not weeks, not months” to rebuild the worst-affected areas, corresponding to Islahiye and Pajarsik, Gurçek mentioned.

However rescue efforts in smaller villages have been made much more troublesome as highway infrastructure has been broken or destroyed by the quake, Gurokak mentioned, whereas the freezing climate made life much more depressing for survivors. “Right now, time is our enemy,” he mentioned. “Even if someone survives the earthquake, he will die of the cold.”

On the Vancouver warehouse on Tuesday, Gurocak and different volunteers packed donated objects to be shipped each two days on a Turkish Airways direct flight from Vancouver to Istanbul.

Whereas Gurcak was bodily in Vancouver in the course of the earthquake and its aftermath, his ideas stay along with his mates and kin in Turkey.

“If they have nowhere to go or have family members under a collapsed building, they have to stay because they hope they can escape and save people,” he mentioned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed on February 8, 2023.

Darryl Greer, The Canadian Press


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