Samaritan’s Purse comes to the aid of Turkey after earthquake tragedy

by Jacob Fuller

Vicky Arias, FISM News

In the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey, Samaritan’s Purse has acted quickly and deployed much-needed aid to the region.

On Monday, a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing thousands of people and wreaking havoc in the area.

“We can call it the disaster of the century,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

As of today, more than 19,000 people have perished and hundreds of thousands are experiencing homelessness. Temperatures are freezing and electricity and heating grids are experiencing outages.

Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian non-profit that helps “victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ,” has initiated plans to send help to the area right away.

The organization intends to send materials for a 52-bed field hospital in the region, equipped with a pharmacy and two operating rooms, and deploy “75 staff as early as this weekend to address the immediate medical needs of families suffering from the disaster.” Additionally, they will be sending out tarp materials and hygiene products to assist in the recovery effort.

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, described the devastation in a recent statement.

“This massive earthquake has devastated Turkey,” Graham said. “Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless and are searching for their loved ones. It is cold there and survivors are in shock — they need our help. We are responding to meet needs in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for all those who are suffering.”

Rescue efforts are being hindered by falling snow and winter weather. Turkey’s Parliament approved a three-month state of emergency for 10 provinces in the country which is set to go into effect today.

In a region near Kahramanmaras, Turkey, “residents camped out in a small park, sleeping in tents or on mattresses on the ground,” according to the New York Times. They stayed warm by making fires out of scavenged wood, waiting and watching the nearby search and rescue effort, hoping to hear news of a loved one being found.

Reuters reported that “hundreds of thousands of people across both countries have been left homeless in the middle of winter. Many have camped out in makeshift shelters … often desperate for food, water, and heat.”

The Vice President of Programs and Government Relations for Samaritan’s Purse, Ken Isaacs, recently sat for an interview with Queen City News and described the tragedy of the situation.

“It’s a horrible situation, it’s heartbreaking,” Isaacs said. “The weather’s cold and I just pray for all the search and … rescue teams there that they can find as many survivors as possible.”