On Feb. 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey near the northern border of Syria. This was followed by another earthquake of a 7.5 magnitude nine hours later, striking the southwest zone, according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy website.
As of Feb. 23, the combined death toll in Turkey and Syria stands at about 47,000, according to the AP news website. The devastating earthquake and its aftermath have shocked people all around the world, including those in the University of Richmond community, especially students who are from these regions.
Junior Pamira Yanar is from Adana, Turkey, one of the cities affected by the earthquakes. Yanar is currently studying abroad in Barbados for a semester and heard the shocking news while abroad.
“It was definitely horrible because there was not one but two earthquakes. I remember feeling anxious and I called my family,” Yanar said. “I knew that the situation would be very horrible for people back home. I stayed up all night watching the news.”
Yanar also talked about the aftershocks that are still happening in Turkey and further affecting the lives of the victims who were already shaken up by the major earthquakes.
“There were about 6 aftershocks and it just kept going on. It was definitely a very bad and anxious feeling. No one knew what was going to happen,” Yanar said.
Despite being far away from home as well as the UR campus community, Yanar was very proactive in taking initiatives to help out people back home who have been affected by this disaster.
“I was talking to a couple of my Turkish friends in the university and we talked about how we wanted to do something about it,” Yanar said.
Yanar shared how because they were away, they were not able to be a part of the tabling that students from Turkey did, but they took part in making the poster and shared it on social media sites with peers as well as professors.
“Overall, there were a lot of support from people like our professors. Many people reached out to us, even if they could not donate and we really appreciated that. The support made us feel happy and we managed to raised a lot of funds for people in need,” Yanar said about the support from the UR community.
Yanar shared how dealing with the news of the earthquakes was difficult for them, especially being so far away but that the support from the UR community as well as the community in Barbados helped them through the unpleasant time.
“I am grateful to be here [in Barbados] but sometimes it definitely feels like I could have dealt with the situation better if I was back in Richmond or back home helping my people. But regardless, I am happy of how I could help and the overall support we all received,” Yanar said.
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There are still many opportunities to support those who have been affected by this devastating crisis. The poster made by UR students can be found here and all the donations will be allocated to those in the earthquake region who are in need.
Yanar and the Turkish community at UR have collected a total of $3412 in their Venmo since they started collecting donations. They have donated this amount to a couple of different organizations: Turkish Philanthropy Funds (389 USD), AKUT (1268 USD), Direct Relief (1690 USD), and LGBTQ Earthquake Solidarity (65 USD).
Yanar also shared a list of transparent and trustworthy organizations who are also working to help those affected by the crisis:
- Lubunya Deprem (LGBTQ+ Earthquake Solidarity): Their Instagram is @lubunyadeprem, and the organization works with queer people affected by the earthquake as they face additional challenges like discrimination in accessing food, accommodation, and specific healthcare needs.
- Turkish Philanthropy Funds: This organization is transparent with where their donations go.
- White Helmets: This organization is an NGO active in opposition-controlled Syria, which is the region most affected by the earthquakes in Syria.
Contact international editor Ahona Anjum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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