Local efforts underway to help those impacted by Turkey, Syria earthquake
AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria on Monday has claimed the lives of over 11,000 people, making it one of the worst natural disasters of this century.
“My first-degree family, my parents, my sibling’s sisters, brothers, my nieces and nephews have been affected. They have lost their houses, homes. They have nothing right now. They are sleeping in the cars,” said Halil Kuzu, member of the Peace Valley Foundation in Agawam.
Kuzu grew up in Turkey, where the epicenter of the earthquake struck. He showed us some photos he has received from his family that still lives overseas. There are heartbreaking images revealing the aftermath of the earthquake including a photo of his young nephew, sleeping in a car with no blanket in the middle of winter. Relief efforts are now underway in communities across western Massachusetts, including at Peace Valley Foundation in Agawam where Kuzu is a member.
“We are trying to reach as many people as possible to collect items like winter coats, winter jackets. That’s what they need right now,” Kuzu added.
He told Western Mass News that the devstation in his home country is horrifying to watch unfold and it has been difficult to keep in touch with his family due to no power and no service.
“I was able to speak with my mom and dad only twice right after the earthquake hit and the second time I spoke with him, they were so scared, they were shocked…I am just so worried about them,” Kuzu noted.
In Springfield, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts is also collecting monetary donations to help those impacted.
“The situation right now in Turkey and Syria is still really ongoing and so right now, Jewish Federations are involved in assessing the need and determining the best partners to receive the funding while we continue to raise those funds,” said Nora Gorenstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.
If you would like to make a donation to the Peace Valley Foundation, you can drop those off at 270 Main Street in Agawam. Monetary donations to the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts can be made online.
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