Tzu Chi Turkey’s Earthquake Relief Team to Visit Hardest Hit Areas

National Headquarters  |  February 15, 2023

Source: Da Ai News
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Andrea Barkley

It’s been nine days since a major 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook southern Turkey. Satellite photos showed that in cities such as Antakya and Islahiya, the collapse of buildings endangered many and left many people instantly without shelter. Those who survived the deadly earthquake must now face hostile weather and an outbreak of infectious diseases. The challenges survivors face are many.

Survivors who lost everything after the earthquake need basic living and heating supplies, and relief organizations and charities worldwide are urgently preparing relief supplies for the affected areas, including Tzu Chi.

Tzu Chi Turkey’s Earthquake Relief Team Enters Hardest Hit Areas

The Earthquake Relief Team plans to use Hatay, the hardest hit province, as its base camp while assessing conditions in three nearby provinces. Photo/ Da Ai News Channel
Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation Deputy CEO Shih Min Hsiung comments on relief work in Turkey. Photo/Da Ai News Channel

On February 14, 2023, in the conference room of El Menahil International School in Turkey, the Tzu Chi Turkey Earthquake Relief Team worked intensively to arrange assessment work before entering the disaster zone on February 15.

After the earthquake, the Tzu Chi Disaster Assessment Delegation was the first international group with which Vice President Fuat Oktay of Turkey met. After much effort and coordination, the Turkish government allowed Tzu Chi to visit the disaster area to provide relief.

Tomorrow morning February 15 at 5am, six members of our Earthquake Relief Team will be the first to go to the disaster zone to scope our route and assess who we can distribute to. We must also consolidate supplies and storage.

While the Earthquake Relief Team prepares for its next steps, Tzu Chi volunteers in Istanbul are also speeding up the dispatch of air freight from Taiwan and local procurement of blankets and scarves. Although the coordination of relief efforts are very complicated, every Tzu Chi volunteer hopes to relay love and support from Taiwan to those who have survived. Therefore, they are transporting supplies as quickly as possible, with a special awareness of the survivors’ needs through disaster assessment.

Officially Sending Off Disaster Relief Supplies for Turkey

Representatives of nonprofit organizations and coordinating support units gathered at the Taoyuan Airport, where the representative of the Turkish Trade Office, Muhammed Berdibek and his wife, accepted donated supplies on behalf of Turkey. Photo/Chiu Liang Huang
Tzu Chi volunteers took a group photo in front of the supplies donated by Tzu Chi. Photo/Chiu Liang Huang

On February 13, 2023, the Eva Air flight to Turkey departed from Taoyuan International Airport. It carried no passengers but over 17 tons of emergency relief supplies to be handed over to the Turkish government for disaster relief after landing.

The special flight carried supplies donated by six non-profit organizations, such as the Taiwan Alliance in International Development (or Taiwan AID), Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, World Vision, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Dharma Drum Mountain Charitable Foundation, and the Mustard Seed Mission.

After the supplies arrive in Istanbul, the local government will transfer them to the disaster area, sending the charity and goodwill of the Taiwanese people to the survivors.

Tzu Chi USA Holds Paper Clay Art Exhibition to Raise Funds for Earthquake Relief

The paper clay artwork exhibited at the charity sale held on behalf of Earthquake survivors in Turkey. Photo/Leslie Liao

The Tzu Chi USA Headquarters Continuing Education Center in San Dimas, CA, held a paper clay art exhibition and charity sale to benefit earthquake survivors on February 12. The show featured clay artworks created by Tina Chen, a well-known clay artist in Southern California, and her students.

Tzu Chi USA Chief Executive Officer Debra Boudreaux said, “After the devastating earthquake in Turkey, Tina Chen and her students wanted to take this opportunity to express their empathy to survivors through their artwork.”

Emmett Badar, the mayor of San Dimas, was invited to attend the exhibition. Badar said, “I am very grateful to these kind-hearted people for their compassion. I hope more people will come to see the exhibition and extend their love.”

When people are united, they can move mountains. The call to action has been activated. Let’s join hands. We can traverse even the most insurmountable difficulties together. 

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