Breaking News
More () »

Turkish Americans living in San Diego wait to hear from loved ones following deadly earthquake

The monster 7.8 magnitude earthquake was one of the largest to ever hit Turkey – it triggered countless aftershocks including a massive 7.5 quake.

SAN DIEGO — The mission to reach and rescue victims of a powerful earthquake continues in Turkey and Syria.  

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has been followed by many strong aftershocks devastating towns and complicating the search for survivors.

A total of ten cities in the southern portion of Turkey and parts of Syria are now faced with utter devastation.

"We can't sleep well. we keep checking messages like if people are still alive or not. And I'm checking my friends' messages as well. Like, it's not only my family, it's the whole city. Ten cities and thousands of people" said San Diego resident, Melek Ficici, whose cousin and family remain unaccounted for.

The powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake was one of the largest to ever hit Turkey – it triggered countless aftershocks including a massive 7.5 quake.

"We're all devastated. It's been such a nightmare and saying nightmare is not even good because a nightmare is not real. This is real," she said.

Ficici is desperately waiting to hear from her cousin and her family who live in a 10-story building in Hatay that collapsed. Only a handful of people have been rescued from the rubble.

"It's been more than 36 hours we've been still waiting to hear from my cousin she and her family are still under the building. There are still people yelling, and we don't know how long they could survive at this point," added Ficici.

Adil Can is also one of the many San Diegans impacted by the disaster.

His father and mother-in-law are trapped underneath the rubble of where their home once stood.

"We are hearing voices from her father, but not for her mother," said Can.

A heartbreaking video taken by the couple’s son shows the building after it collapsed.

Can’s wife, Rana, flew to Turkey after learning what happened and is hoping to help search for her parents. Meanwhile, Can is in San Diego looking after their 7-year-old son.

"It’s hard because I would like to be with my wife but I cannot do it right now," said Can.

The aftershocks, freezing temperatures, and damaged roads are hampering rescuers' efforts to reach towns and cities affected.

"There’s no electricity there’s no water, there’s no food. So even if they try to help those people, they’re going to be struggling," said Ficici.

The World Health Organization fears the number of dead could climb to more than 20,000.

"We need help. This is a time to help no matter who you are, no matter where you're from," added Ficici.

The local Turkish community is asking for donations of any kind to help those impacted.

To donate, visit:

Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California

Turkish Philanthropy Funds

Bridge to Turkey Fund

House of Turkey

Before You Leave, Check This Out