LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) has made available a $10,000 emergency grant to help meet basic needs of survivors of the massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey the afternoon of Oct. 23.
The grant is already making possible the distribution by relief workers of first-aid supplies and medicines among many people left homeless and hurting after the quake. In addition, it is being used to purchase a truckload of tents, diapers, blankets, food and other supplies scheduled to travel this coming weekend (Oct. 28-30) from Ankara to the quake-affected region.
However, the needs in eastern Turkey after this earthquake go far beyond what current relief distribution can help alleviate. WR-HC is calling on generous donors to continue their support for Turkey earthquake relief.
“Our donors have been incredibly gracious this year, responding very generously to a number of international and national disaster-response needs,” said the Rev. John Fale, interim co-executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM). “They truly understand the call of our Lord to be His witnesses of Christ’s Gospel and His mercy to all.
“Once again,” Fale continued, “we are called to respond in that love of God to the people of Turkey following this terrible earthquake. It is already very cold and there are pressing needs to provide basic necessities to sustain life. Please pray that our Lord will bless our response to His glory.”
News agencies report that the earthquake — the most powerful one to hit the country in a generation — killed at least 523 people, injured 1,350 others and collapsed some 2,600 buildings. Its epicenter was near the cities of Van and Ercis, in a region that is not as economically developed as western Turkey, where Ankara and Istanbul are located — about 750 miles and 1,000 miles, respectively, from the quake zone.
Nearly 500 aftershocks have been recorded in eastern Turkey since the Oct. 23 quake, with two registering magnitudes of 5.7 and 5.4.
As of Oct. 27, emergency workers had pulled 185 from the rubble.
The massive earthquake left thousands of survivors homeless, living out in the open where nighttime temperatures reach well below freezing. Snow is already falling. The region remained without electrical power and running water — both knocked out by the quake — as this story was being prepared.
Aid workers reportedly have been able to find shelter for only about half of the homeless.
Turkey is in one of the most active seismic zones on earth. Some 18,000 people in the country’s northwest region died from two earthquakes that struck in 1999. Both of those registered magnitudes of more than 7.
The Rev. Dr. Brent Smith, regional director for Eurasia with LCMS OIM, said that this response of the Synod to the Oct. 23 earthquake is “a fruit” of the first International Disaster Response Conference for Lutherans, which took place in the week before the earthquake. (For a story on that conference, click here.)
Smith, who attended the conference, told Reporter that “as soon as the quake happened in Turkey, the response plan was implemented with members of the Eurasia team closest to the disaster,” to set in motion the much-needed initial deliveries of relief supplies to those affected in eastern Turkey.
To make a gift for continuing earthquake relief in Turkey:
- mail checks (noting “Turkey earthquake” in the memo line) to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
- call toll-free 888-930-4438.
- click here for the “Give Now” online option.
Any funds not needed for this relief effort will be used for other disaster-response purposes as determined by LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Your gift is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Posted Oct. 27, 2011