It has been a week. In the early hours of Monday at 4:17 am, February 6, as unsuspecting families slept, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude ripped through southeastern Türkiye and parts of northwestern Syria. While the area was still reeling from the aftermath, within 9 hours, another strong quake of 7.4 magnitude struck miles away.
The epicenter of the first quake, near the ancient city of Gaziantep, wreaked havoc, with thousands of buildings collapsing during the 75 second long event. The second, 60 miles north from the first, occurred near the city of Elbistan. According to reports from the Turkish government, the Kahramanmaraş province, in between the two epicenters, is one of the hardest hit areas. Several multi-storied buildings have been reduced to rubble, with untold number of people crushed or stuck under the debris.
Scores of local and international rescue teams rushed to the area, and the media industry mobilized immediately to help raise funds and necessary supplies for those affected. The country went into 7 days of mourning, while productions on all series’ shut down. Production companies sent caravans, equipment, and other supplies to help with immediate rehabilitation and rescue efforts. Celebrities have publicly and privately stepped up to help the efforts, making donations, doing fundraising drives, packing supplies, preparing trucks and more. The way hearts came together to stand strong for the victims is inspiring. Celebrities are adored in Türkiye and the general public watch for their examples.
Several media outlets shared news bits, video clips, photos of celebrities banding together for the relief effort. It is reported that Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, Kenan İmirzalıoğlu were one of the firsts to stand next to musician and activist Haluk Levent, giving donations and doing other fundraising drives. Levent’s aid organization AHBAP is highly respected in Türkiye for its transparency and quick mobilization during times of acute needs. With less publicity, it later surfaced that Çağatay Ulusoy had also donated to AHBAP through another name to keep the spotlight off himself, in addition to sending two aid trucks and funding 130 tents (temporary homes) for displaced families. İbrahim Çelikkol, known as someone who throws himself into the fray during natural disasters, had taken his off-road vehicle and tried to reach remote villages since the first day of the disaster. Akın Akınözü’s mother’s charity organization, Hayır Kapısı Derneği, was also one of the first on the ground to help with supplies. These are few of many examples of philanthropy and support shown by the media personalities, with many more choosing to keep their efforts private.
Nestled within three active tectonic plates, Türkiye is prone to seismic activity. This event spotlights the country’s lack of necessary investments in the required infrastructure to weather such catastrophes. Grief is slowly giving way to anger as the communities and the country absorbs the extent of loss from this calamity, already estimated to be around $85 billion, with 13 million lives directly/indirectly affected. Many countries, including the United States, have pledged support and the world has come together to help heal the wounds.
Tragedy of such proportions hasn’t been seen in the area since the last such earthquake of a similar magnitude in 1939, hitting the same area and leaving a death toll of 30,000. As of today, the current death toll of the Turkey-Syria earthquake has already surpassed 36,000, with hopes dwindling of any further live rescues. There are many of us who fell in love with Türkiye and her people through their dizi industry. North America TEN and our many followers have tracked the news of the disaster and many have donated to various relief efforts. In such times of need for humanity, borders and cultural differences blend into one. We all cry for the lives lost and we all cheer the ones who could be saved.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. With the extent of help the community will need with rehabilitation, placements, economic and infrastructural recovery, financial support will be needed for a long time. For those of you who wish to donate, here are a few vetted organizations with the ability to take international, credit card donations:
Turkish Red Crescent (Red Cross Affiliate): https://www.kizilay.org.tr/Bagis
The White Helmets: https://www.whitehelmets.org/en/
UNICEF USA: https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/devastating-earthquake-hits-syria-and-turkey/40794
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May Father God sustain and give strength to all the people of Turkey and those they have lost through this tragic event. It proves that there are indeed loving, compassionate people all over the world who plunged right in to assist those in need–one of the many reasons why we’re here on earth, to help one another. I pray for restoration and healing.
Thank you so much for this informative article! This is heartbreaking and my thoughts and prayers are with the dear people of Turkey and it’s wonderful how the media industry jumped right in to help. Praise God!