SAN DIEGO — Its been six days since a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 25,000 people and injuring thousands of others.
"Devastation continues. The search and rescue are ending. It's a devastating time of recovery mode, and that 25,000 number is expected to climb," said Memhet Cilingir, a member of the American-Turkish Association of California.
Cilingir is originally from Turkey and lives in San Diego now. His wife’s cousin lives in the region where the earthquake hit. His home was demolished, but thankfully, he is okay.
"My wife and I have Turkish TV at home. Being so far away, you feel helpless," said Cilingir.
He and dozens of Turkish-Americans gathered at the House of Turkiye in Balboa Park to help raise money for immediate humanitarian assistance to the survivors.
"Help our country. We can't do it alone," said one of the speakers at the event.
Their goal is to raise $200,000. By Saturday afternoon, they had already raised $150,000.
"It makes me want to cry; frankly, that is how I feel. In your heart, you have a feeling that we are all together. We are all one. It doesn’t matter which country you are born in or where you are educated; we are all one," said Ali Kiran, President of the House of Turkey.
"The donations and support are very generous. I got emotional myself. It's hard to explain. I've lived in San Diego for over 20 years, and this is the first time I've seen the community come together and show support," said Cilingir.
Donations will be directed to a vetted local emergency support organization next week for assistance with supplies like food, water, blankets, and shelter.
Anyone can donate by clicking here.
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