A non-profit group providing medical aid in Turkey following this month’s deadly earthquakes found themselves having to evacuate for their own safety when a new quake hit the region this week.
Dr. Gordon Willcock with Direct Relief Emergency Response told 7NEWS his colleagues were in a building when they felt the earth shake again, weeks after an initial earthquake decimated parts of Turkey and Syria, killing some 45,000 people.
“We felt the shaking and evacuated the building – it was the third strongest earthquake since the initial event,” he said via Zoom.
Monday’s 6.4 magnitude quake could be felt as far as Cyprus, Israel and Egypt and initially left six people dead and nearly 300 injured.
“It actually brought down buildings across the region again because a lot of buildings were still standing, but, you know, only by a thread, so it was pretty nasty, really,” Willcock added.
He, along with his team, are part of an international humanitarian non-profit that has been working to provide medical help to the thousands of people left in need following the disaster.
“(They) are in a situation where, now, they have to pick up the pieces and try to find how they’re going to move forward and then they may have lost everything – they may have left a building in their pajamas and that’s it – that’s all they’ve got,” he said.
Via a Direct Relief warehouse, some 22 tons of medical supplies have been gathered and shipped out over the last few weeks. The organization helps doctors on the ground provide emergency care, while also donating some $100,000 to rescuers.
“All those displaced people across the region – having a lack of access to sanitation, to toilets, to fresh water,” he said. “You see outbreaks occur, we’ve heard things like scabies and these sorts of issues arise now.”
Willcock himself has responded to several international emergences over the last decade. When it comes to what is happening in Turkey and Syria, though, he told 7NEWS he’s never seen such widespread devastation.
Above everything though, he says it’s important to remember the will of the people impacted is shining through.
“I think there’s a really great spirit here and I know the same sort of fighting spirit is across northwestern Syria so I think it’s good to remember that as we tend to look at everyone as victims, people are out there clearing rubble, they’re trying to get on with their lives,” Willcock observed.
Those who wish to donate to Direct Relief can do so here.
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