TURKEY – Cries rang through the night, mingled with the ominous rumbling and cracking of concrete. Salim was jarred awake as his home shook violently, and he scrambled to collect his four young kids.
“My children started crying and screaming, and they were very scared. I had a hard time keeping them close to me, but I managed to do it. After the earthquake calmed down a little bit, the sound of the collapsing houses was audible.” Amid the frightening sounds, they fought their way through obstacles and a jammed door and finally onto the street—which was quickly filling with homeless families. “We couldn’t put on our socks or shoes and came out barefoot on the shattered glass.”
Teams on the Ground Giving Survivors Hope
Like Salim’s family, most survivors escaped the danger with few or no belongings. Since then, they’ve slept in tents or in cars. That’s daily life for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the massive earthquakes that destroyed over 160,000 buildings and took more than 40,000 lives.
Thankfully, compassionate friends like you sent an Operation Blessing response team to Turkey the day disaster struck. With your support, we’ve been there ever since, offering a helping hand to traumatized survivors and displaying God’s love in a tangible way.
Salim’s eight-year-old son, Ali, told us what Operation Blessing’s presence meant to them. “From the first day of the earthquake, this organization came to help us. We played with one of the members of this team, and one of the ladies on the team made us balloons. Then I asked them for toy swords, and they provided them for me.”
Thanks to the generous gifts of friends like you, not only kids are getting the support they need to brighten up their days, people in need are getting critical items like clothing, blankets and solar lamps to keep them warm and provide light in the darkness. Salim’s mentioned that they’ve been eating three meals a day with our Operation Blessing team. And many families like Salim’s are receiving hot meals and food boxes to sustain them.
Clean Water and Medicine Give Families Hope
In hard-hit Hatay province, our team has been working to provide clean water as ruined infrastructure has led to a highly contaminated water supply. Our relief workers quickly found a way to purify 300 gallons of water daily from a local source via reverse osmosis while also offering in-home water filters where possible. Through this, you are providing the ongoing needs of families like Filiz’s.
This survivor and mother of three said, “We don’t have water, and every time there’s an aftershock we get scared and scream.” Thankfully, because of your support, our team was able to comfort them and assist them by providing a household water filter to clean the dirty water they had been drinking.
Others were suffering from a lack of medical care because the local hospitals in Hatay were destroyed, and many with chronic conditions were cut off from their supply of medication. So you helped to offer compassionate care to hundreds of patients through our mobile medical clinic. One older man who was hurt during the earthquake got the care he needed and offered his gratitude. “We are very thankful to them because they did their work with high precision, humanity, and great focus. Everything was great.”
These are just a few of the many lives you have touched. The needs in Turkey are huge. But one day at a time, people are finding hope on the road to recovery through the generous support of friends like you, our Operation Blessing family.
Stay tuned for more information about Operation Blessing’s Turkey response. To donate to disaster relief efforts, visit: https://www.ob.org/disasterrelief/