Iowa State students raise funds after earthquakes in Turkey


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A series of earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria on Feb.6.

Students at Iowa State have taken to fundraising after a series of earthquakes hit the southeastern region of Turkey and the border of Syria, leading to destruction and the loss of lives.

These earthquakes are believed to be the strongest since 1939, when an earthquake of a similar magnitude in the region resulted in the loss of 30,000 lives. Currently, the death toll caused by these earthquakes has surpassed 21,000 people.

“I just talked to my friend who was on his way to dig through rubble to save his mother in one of the affected cities,” said Yasin Karatay, a postdoc research associate in the English department. “I am heartbroken to see my loved ones struggling in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

The two earthquakes took place nine hours apart on Feb. 6, impacting the southeastern region of Turkey along the border shared with Syria. Both earthquakes were classified as major with the first earthquake registering a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Since the earthquakes, over 100 aftershocks (smaller earthquakes following a major earthquake) have hit the region, registering magnitudes of 4 and greater. A 7.5 magnitude aftershock is the strongest recorded.

Students at Iowa State, including Karatay, have taken to creating an online fundraiser on GoFundMe to collect funds for a reputable non-governmental aid organization in Turkey called Bridge to Turkiye.

Currently, the fundraiser has raised over $500, but the students hope to increase their outreach to a wider community to raise a significant amount of donations.

“In the face of such devastation it is crucial that we come together to support those in need,” said Mesih Kilinc, a graduate student in the biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology department. “So, we came together to establish a channel for funding to maximize our reach and impact.”

Students share many areas that have been affected have not been reached by rescue teams, and the need for aid is immediate. The earthquakes have caused widespread damage across the region, leaving millions of people homeless and in need of resources such as shelter, food, water and winter clothing.

The organization the students are fundraising for has developed a four-phase plan to provide assistance to those in need. The first phase is to provide immediate assistance through food, water and warmth. The second phase will focus on immediate assistance for shelter. The third and fourth phase will be to focus efforts on the health and education of children.

“The people of Turkey urgently need our support,” Kilinc said. “We urge you to consider donating what you can to help those affected by this disaster. Every penny counts and will make a difference in the lives of those in need.”

Donations can be made to the group’s online fundraising platform.