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  • Writer's pictureDeirdre McCrohan

After earthquakes, Tiburon resident seeks aid for native Turkey

Although Old Tiburon resident Zeynep Akon left her native Turkey 28 years ago, she still feels a connection to the country.


Her parents and high school classmates still live in Istanbul, and the series of major earthquakes that struck earlier this month in the southern region of the country and in neighboring Syria, leveling buildings and killing more than 50,000, left her feeling anxious and wanting to help.


In the days since, Akon has taken to online neighborhood site Nextdoor.com to inform locals about the impact of the quakes and suggest organizations that are accepting donations toward the recovery efforts.

She says she has been in touch with high school friends about the search and recovery efforts.


“Where I think the biggest problem is, currently, is that the help isn’t reaching the people in need,” she says.


Two major earthquakes hit Turkey on Feb. 6: a magnitude-7.8 quake centered in Gaziantep, followed by a 7.5 some 50 miles north in Kahramanmaraş. On Feb. 20, a 6.4 quake struck in Defne, in the Hatay province in western Turkey. Defne is only about 100 miles from the war-torn city of Aleppo, which has been one of the Syrian cities hardest hit by the earthquakes.


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• Ahbap: A nonpolitical organization founded by Turkish singer Haluk Levent after the last major earthquake in 2017. The organization is focusing on providing tents and containers to create a “container city” for accommodating those left homeless by the earthquakes, as well as providing food and hygiene supplies. Donations can be made at ahbap.org.

• Turkey Mozaik Foundation: A nonpolitical, nongovernmental organization founded by Turkish expatriates or those with Turkish heritage who live in the United Kingdom. The organization focuses on the participation and social welfare of vulnerable groups in the society, mainly through the advancement of education, health, children’s rights, gender equality, culture and arts and environmental sustainability. It has launched the Kahramanmaraş Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund at turkeymozaik.org.uk.

• Support to Life, or Hayata Destek Derneği: The organization is accepting donations for purchase of supplies, which they deliver. Donate at supporttolife.org.

• Turkish Philanthropy Funds: donate.tpfund.org.

• Doctors Without Borders: doctorswithoutborders.org.

• U.N. World Food Program USA: wfpusa.org.

• UNICEF: unicefusa.org.

• U.N. Crisis Relief: crisisrelief.un.org.

• Turkish Red Crescent: kizilay.org.tr.

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