As of February 7th, 4:00 p.m. local time in Turkey, JDC is one of the few international organizations that have managed to arrive in areas hardest hit by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its many aftershocks. JDC’s disaster relief expert and the director of our operations in Turkey are on-site, coordinating with local and incoming international partners to assess emerging needs among both Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
JDC has joined in the frantic efforts on the ground and is focused on search and rescue, clearing massive piles of rubble from pancaked buildings and shattered cars, and addressing the immediate needs of people whose homes were destroyed or damaged. Many people are afraid to return home, worrying that further quakes are yet to come. People are sleeping in their cars, huddling in cafes, and sitting outside on benches in the dust-filled, wintery air. Some are standing by collapsed buildings of family members, trying to keep hope alive as disaster crews work. Thousands of volunteers are desperately helping these crews with their ungloved hands. Hospitals are filling up with body bags and injured people, and ambulances continue to arrive. The mood is a mix of shock, despair, and dwindling hope that missing loved ones will be found alive.
In Turkey, 5,894 people are confirmed to have been killed. There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with World Health Organization officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.
This situation in Turkey is both dire and devastating, and the images and videos coming out of the country are nothing short of heartbreaking.
JDC is moving quickly to care for the immediate needs of the Jewish and non-Jewish survivors and implement a short-medium term recovery plan.
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