Christian Non-Profit Providing Disaster Relief, Development And Charity For Weary Bodies And Thirsty Souls

Earthquake Relief: On The Ground Reports

While the devastation of the Turkey/Syria quake that killed over 50,000 people in February is slowly fading from international news media, the ongoing plight of the millions of homeless and displaced quake victims is still a very present reality for our team.

This month the door remained open to send several volunteers across the border into Syria to help in two areas with a large amount of damage and quake victims. These are follow-up efforts to some of the areas that received 5 tons of blankets, food and other items from the relief truck we sent in last month. By God’s grace we hope to continue with additional smaller, frequent, directed efforts like these current trips to continue serving Syrians badly affected by the quake.

What Our Teams Found In The Quake Areas

The destruction in areas of Syria nearest the northern border with Turkey got hit the hardest, as they were closest to the fault line epicenter. Our volunteers report that even up to last week, they are still slowly pulling bodies from the massive piles of rubble. Countless buildings are simply disintegrated. 30-40 foot high piles of concrete, rebar and cinder blocks make an eerie mountain scape amidst the cities, with small foot paths carved between where neighborhoods once stood.

Small footpaths are carved out between the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings.

Survivors congregate in open fields and make tents of tarps provided by the UN or salvaged from the streets. Even if someone’s home did not fall in the initial quake, they are often so badly damaged that people fear to sleep in them at night in case an aftershock might collapse it. Our volunteers report this is still happening. With each major aftershock, a few more buildings collapse. Official reports log that up to 10,000 aftershocks, large and small, occurred since the first big quake hit Turkey. Fear pervades the region as every little shake of the ground could potentially turn to something bigger.

The hardest hit areas are the parts of Syria that had also seen fierce fighting during the Syrian civil war. Northern cities are among this category, and the particular area in the north our volunteers assist in is no exception. People are desperately poor, already impoverished by the grinding war that shattered their community in the last decade. Basic needs exist for food, clothing, shoes, blankets, bedding, tarps, medicine and other essentials to life.

There is also a great need to assist the internally displaced who fled the northern regions for already crowded, but relatively quake-safe, southern cities. One of our teams is focusing on serving people in this area as well, as the numbers of displaced quake refugees is likely in the tens of thousands in this south central city alone.

Our volunteers find that people are very receptive and appreciative of the help. Many are astonished that a Christian church would send people all the way north to their city to help them when they themselves are not Christians. Many have never even met a Christian before. One head of a family group said that if this is what Christians are, people who will leave all to come help the poor and afflicted in risky areas, then he wished all people would become Christians!

What Our Volunteers Are Able To Do To Help

Thanks to the timely provision of the Lord, we had additional funds come in just prior to the earthquake, and more since then that we’ve been able to dedicate to purchase relief aid for people in the Syrian quake areas. Currently, our volunteers are finding that the most requested need items are medicines (as many people lost them when homes collapsed), food, clothing, shoes (many people ran out of their homes in the night with nothing on their feet or their children’s feet) and blankets.

So far we’ve been able to provide many of these items mentioned above to about 40 families in the northern city region and another 30 families in the southern quake refuge city region. Due to limitations on the amount of volunteers we can safely get into an area at any one time, our efforts must remain small and incremental at this point, but by God’s grace we hope they remain recurring and effective. The kindness shown to these quake victims has often opened doors for our volunteers to share more clearly the reason for the hope within them and the truth about what motivates them to serve the poor in Christ’s name. Thank you for praying for these continuing efforts to help in this dark and needy region!

If you wish to be involved in any way, you can support TGI via our site, sign up for our relief updates e-mail newsletter to better know how to pray, or contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how to be personally involved.

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