Communities work together to donate aid

People in Wiltshire donating clothes

People in Wiltshire donated clothing and supplies

Communities have come together to organize aid for victims of the “devastating” Turkey-Syria earthquake.

People across the West of England held drives for food, warm clothing and called for volunteers to help with the field efforts.

Collection points at the Wiltshire Turkish Community Center filled up quickly and Bristol families contacted relatives.

Bathroom rescuer Rob Davis said the impact was like the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Rob Davis, Saraid worker

Rob Davis and his team spent 10 days in Haiti in 2010 assessing whether the buildings were safe to use

“Heavy reinforced concrete buildings were destroyed throughout the area,” said Davis, a worker with Search And Rescue Resistance In Disaster (SARAID).

“The added complication is that it happened when people were in bed, so their reaction time was much slower.

“It’s devastating. Now it’s our job to go and locate those people who are trapped.”

Mehmet Guvercin President of the Wiltshire Turkish community

Mehmet Guvercin said some of his friends died in the earthquake

Mehmet Guvercin, chairman of the Turkish Wiltshire Community (TWC), said: “The majority of the Turkish and Kurdish community here have friends or family members who have been directly affected.

“A couple of my friends have been confirmed dead, another friend of mine has lost his wife, mother and two sisters.

“We will know more about what happened to other people in the coming days.”

Tugba Aliya Altun, from the Turkish community of Wiltshire

Tugba Aliya Altun said her community is helping in any way they can

Tugba Aliya Altun, also from TWC, said: “We packed everything from baby food, to diapers and adult clothing, everything.

“I feel broken, but this eases my pain a little because I know I’m helping.”

Henry Aslan, from Bristol, said that when he heard the news of the quake he immediately called his family, who live north of Istanbul.

Volunteers filling the back of a supply van

Wiltshire Turkish Community Center volunteers filled the vans with supplies destined for Turkey

“They haven’t heard anything, but the east side is terrible,” he said.

“To the people who have lost their families, I am so sorry.

“My brother is in Turkey and he has trucks. I told him this morning, fill up your truck, get some food and drive it to the east side.”

“People Are Afraid”

Paul Taylor, director of international operations for the Wiltshire-based charity Re:Act Disaster Response, said his teams would arrive in Turkey on Wednesday morning.

“The first thing we can do is ascertain the needs of the affected population,” he said.

“In these early stages there is likely to be medical care, water and, critically because of the temperatures, shelter.

“People are scared. Psychologically it can be very challenging.

“The first phase is a search and rescue phase. Based on that, they will then address humanitarian needs.”

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