CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — As the death toll is staggering in Syria and Turkey after two devastating earthquakes, community members right here on the ground in Northeast Ohio are gathering resources to send overseas.
While news of the earthquakes traveled across the world, Tuba Gokoglu immediately feared for her family back home.
“That area is wiped out. There is no access by roads. The airport collapsed. There is no hospital left, it's collapsed,” Gokoglu said.
Many of her family members say they are OK, but she still hasn't heard from others.
“I have family who is under collapsed buildings, and I don't know, they are probably gone — we have not heard from them,” Gokoglu said.
Gazi Bisirici’s family is also in Turkey; he learned his mom and his sister made it out of a collapsed building alive, but not his grandmother.
“She was able to go back inside and grabbed my mom, but they couldn't reach my grandmother, and after about 40 hours now, we found that she was inside,” Bisirici said.
Neither can fly home right now.
“You cope with it by trying to help so you do your best,” Gokoglu said.
They found a way to assist through the Turkish American Society of Northeastern Ohio.
“It’s terrible, it’s snowing, there's a blizzard yesterday, it's nighttime,” said Mehmet Gencer.
They started gathering supplies just yesterday and already have a tent-full.
“Usually you are going against the time, but with freezing conditions, you really don't have much time,” Gencer said.
“So main things you need in cold weather, right now it's cold. If you're outside, what do you need? You need a tent and a sleeping bag. All those people just went outside, and they don't have anything,” said the President of the Turkish American Society of Northeastern Ohio, Engin Ates.
Ates has been in contact with the Turkish government and many on the ground in Turkey. They learned the roads are collapsed so help can't get to many areas. Also, buildings are unrecognizable, and the number of people affected is large and growing. As supplies are coming in quickly, they need all they can get and are looking at the community for more help.
“This is humanity. This is — everybody should do this. If this was happening to some other community, I will do the same thing,” Gazi said.
If you would like to donate, the TASNO is collecting at six different sites. Those supplies will then be organized by size and sent to Chicago where Turkish Airlines will take the supplies from there.
Here is a list of those collection locations:
5863 Londonairy Blvd
Hudson Oh 44236
+1 (330) 256-9205
16535 Munn Rd.
Chagrin Falls, 44023
+1(330) 208 7874
3146 Lander Rd,
Pepper Pike, OH 44124
+1(216) 408 2390
39120 Princeton Cir,
Avon, Ohio, 44011
+1(440) 320 9667
9116 Pleasant Lake Blvd,
+1(440) 381 7177
38307 Royalton Rd,
Grafton, OH 44044
+1(216) 925 6530
They are in need of the following: tent, mattress (for tent), blanket, sleeping bag, heater, thermos, flashlight, power bank, generator, food box (RESISTANT FOOD ITEMS - CANNED), child food, diapers, cleaning and hygiene items (wipes, toothpaste/brush, wipes), sanitary napkins.
For more information click here.
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