SAN DIEGO — The death toll has risen to more than 4,000 following two massive earthquakes that rocked Turkey and neighboring Syria. As rescue efforts will be ongoing for some time, local Turkish organizations are pulling together to send aid.
“Just immersed into this catastrophic unexplainable, natural disaster,” said Mehmet Cilinger with the Association of Turkish Americans Southern California, San Diego.
The San Diego Turkish community is reeling from the images coming out of the country following back-to-back 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes.
“They were really worried all day trying to reach our families are friends to see if everybody is OK,” said Ali Kiran, president at House of Türkiye.
Both the Association of Turkish Americans in Southern California, San Diego and the House of Turkey or as it is now referred to: House of Türkiye say there are local San Diegans who have not been able to get in touch with loved ones abroad.
Rescuers in both Turkey and Syria worked overnight in near-freezing temperatures in search of survivors.
“We’re working through a group, a search and rescue team, they’re on the ground so they need money to fund their search and rescues,” Cilinger said.
In just 24 hours, the ATASC-San Diego has already sent thousands directly to the rescue effort and House of Türkiye is also in full fundraising mode.
“The first $10,000 is going to be matched one to one by our members and also all our board and House of Türkiye,” Kiran said.
The Los Angeles Fire Department is sending a team to help with search and rescue. FOX 5 reached out to local agencies, but as of now there are no plans to send crews to Turkey.
Other donation links for the devastating earthquakes include Bridge to Türkiye Fund and Turkish Philanthropy Funds.
Local Turkish organizations will be meeting in Balboa Park this weekend to discuss how to further assist the relief efforts.