The past month has been difficult for victims of the Feb. 6 earthquake. Cold weather has made recovery efforts even more challenging. The death toll in Türkiye and Syria, so far, is over 46,000. 345,000 apartments and over 50,000 buildings have been destroyed. The quakes were followed by 3,858 aftershocks since February 6, 38 of them over magnitude 5. A second 6.4 quake shook the region February 20, followed by 90 aftershocks, the largest of which was recorded at 5.8.
Aid has reached Türkiye relatively quickly because of that country’s status as a NATO member, but has been slow to reach Syria. That situation is now changing, as reported by NPR news. According to Ismail Aladullah of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, support is finally reaching those in need in Northwest Syria, but more help is needed.
Two local organizations are collecting donations for earthquake relief in Syria and Türkiye. Herricks Muslim Families, a community of Muslims on the north shore, raised over $22,000 so far from 11 businesses and 58 families. The Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury has raised over $150,000 in cash and clothes. These items will be shipped to the affected areas and distributed directly to survivors.
“Many mosques on Long Island-we have about 40+ mosques in Nassau and Suffolk- had collections of truck after truck full of good quality, warm stuff, plus cash, at each congregation.” Said Habeeb Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Center.
Collections are ongoing. The NYPD is coordinating logistics and has three drop off locations on Long Island: The NY Turkish American Center in Amityville, Hamza Masajid in Valley Stream, and the Islamic Center. The following items are most needed: blankets; tents; sleeping bags; pocket warmers; feminine hygiene products; winter clothing such as jackets, gloves, and hats; over the counter medications for flu, cold, and painkillers; and baby products like formula, diapers, etc. Items should be in clear bags and a list of items must be provided. For more information email NYPDturkishrelief@gmail.com.
—With additional reporting by Hassan Chughai and Habeeb Ahmed