Students at FSU aid earthquake victims

Photo courtesy: FSU Turkish Student Association Instagram page

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey near the city of Antakya near the border with Syria on Feb. 6.

Earlier quakes in the region killed an estimated 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria with tens of thousands more left homeless. The earthquake was followed by a 5.8 aftershock three minutes later and subsequent aftershocks that were not as severe.

The director of Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency, Orhan Tarter, warned people in the affected areas to be careful of falling debris. Search and rescue operations are ongoing more than two weeks later.

The Turkish Student Association at Florida State University is collecting items and monetary donations for the victims of the earthquake. Some of the members’ family and friends were affected and the organization’s members said they wanted to do whatever they could to help.

“It was like a small apocalypse, roads destroyed and people screaming under the fallen buildings. We are doing this fundraiser because these people need help, they need homes and food,” Kaan Akdogan, vice president of the Turkish Student Association at FSU, said.

They are collecting winter supplies in a collection box in the Global and Multicultural Engagement Center on campus.

“We are collecting monetary donations through PayPal. We really want to emphasize that we are prioritizing monetary donations because the exchange rate, a U.S. dollar is equivalent to 18.8 Turkish lira. Your monetary donations can buy more in Turkey, and we can transfer the money to land geos that can help quicker,” said Omer Turkomer, the president of the Turkish Student Association.

All the money will be donated to a Turkish organization that has been working in Turkey for a very long time and is on the front lines assisting people who have been affected by the earthquake.

The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that $100 million in disaster relief aid has been set aside for Turkey and Syria as the countries grapple with the aftermath of the earthquakes. Blinken acknowledged that the relief efforts were challenging, but they added that the U.S. is doing everything it can to help and provide aid for those who need it. He also met with the White Helmets, the Syria Civil Defense volunteer organization committed to providing life-saving aid in response to the tragedy. The White Helmets have been doing the heavy lifting in the search, rescue and recovery efforts in the areas in north and northwestern Syria.

For more information contact FSU’s Turkish Student Association on their social media platforms and PayPal.