‘Destruction everywhere’: Canadian efforts continue in Turkey as earthquake death toll nears 35,000
Posted February 12, 2023 1:18 pm.
Last Updated February 12, 2023 1:34 pm.
Canadian rescue operations remain on the ground in Turkey and Syria, as crews work tirelessly to save lives after devastating earthquakes claimed the lives of thousands.
Aysha Syed, the head of fundraising at Islamic Relief Canada, is urging those who can to donate.
Syed says there is a huge need for basic necessities like shelter, food, and medical support.
“We are in Gaziantep right now, which is the centre of the earthquake,” she said. “Earlier today we were doing distribution and we completed four distributions across the region and it’s just complete chaos across the region. Destruction everywhere, entire cities have been destroyed.”
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Islamic Relief Canada, a non-governmental organization, is placed in different parts of the world to respond quickly to large-scale disasters such as the Turkey-Syria earthquake.
“I would say despite seeing all the footage on the news, the drone shots, it’s still shocking when you see it in real life. We are kind of just trying to manage our emotions and get the job done and focus on processing once we’re back home. We are on a little bit of adrenalin right now but it’s just complete mourning across the region,” said Syed.
The death toll from the magnitude 7.8 magnitude and 7.5 quakes that struck nine hours apart in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria rose to 33,179 and was certain to increase as search teams find more bodies.
WATCH: Winnipeg family mourns loss of loved ones, following earthquake in Turkey, Syria
There are 34,717 Turkish search-and-rescue personnel involved. On Sunday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said they have been joined by representatives from 74 countries, totaling 9,595 personnel. Eight more countries are expected to send search-and-rescue teams with 874 personnel, it said.
“Try to give and mobilize your friends, families and networks to give as well and hopefully that will kind of sustain organizations like ours to intervene in a long-term capacity,” said Syed.
—With files from The Associated Press