Just one day after an earthquake and several aftershocks devastated parts of Turkey and Syria, the DMV is stepping up and donating in a big way.
Hundreds of boxes arrived at the Turkish embassy throughout the day, and on Tuesday night, help is in the air.
As the last Turkish Airlines flight loaded with supplies took off en route to Istanbul, Turkey, from Dulles International Airport, folks with friends and family in the country said relief can't get there soon enough.
The devastation is difficult to describe. The catastrophic 7.8 earthquake rocked Turkey and northwest Syria, killing thousands and leaving even more injured and trapped.
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For some travelers flying to Turkey out of Dulles airport, communication with loved ones proved almost impossible.
Tuesday, the Turkish embassy in D.C. turned into ground zero for the local relief effort. Donations rolled in throughout the day, and volunteers like Alp Tufan spent hours sorting supplies.
“I’m also Turkish, and from here, 3,000 kilometers away, this is all I can do. And there are a ton of victims there who are my age or babies or way younger than me and I can’t just sit,” Tufan said.
Much needed warm clothing, blankets, tents and medicine waited in piles to be donated.
As the rescue efforts continue, parts of Turkey braces for temperatures well below freezing, and members of the local Turkish community came together and dug deep.
“We just wanted to help,” Burak Akin said as he dropped off donations. “It comes from our hearts.”
Akin, who works with Virginia Kitchen and Bath, said they spent thousands of dollars on relief supplies to send to Turkey. News4 cameras rolled as they dropped boxes off Tuesday evening.
“We have been working like all day to, you know, grab something from the grocery stores and then, you know, pack them up and bring it to here in rush hours,” Akin said.
Consulates across the country are collecting similar supplies. Embassy officials said once they are sorted, they are repacked and transported for free on Turkish Airlines flights.
“We are all brothers and sisters, so that’s why we are just helping our own people,” Akin said.
If you would like to contribute, the Turkish embassy is collecting donations from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is in need of:
- sleeping bags
- pocket warmers
- winter clothing (jackets, gloves and headgear)
- over-the-counter medications for flu, cold and pain killers