Responding with prayer and support after the earthquake: NGO’s and SAT-7 TÜRK work together to raise awareness of the needs and build solidarity among people in Izmir and Turkey.

SAT-7 TÜRK is reporting on the latest developments in Izmir through its news department, praying for the victims, and sharing words of consolation from the Bible on its live programs such as Power of Prayer and Homemade. Located in Istanbul, the SAT-7 TÜRK studio was not physically affected by the earthquake.

“We are in contact with non-governmental organisations such as First Hope[1] (Ilk Umut), which operates during emergency/disaster situations. We strive to do our best to support NGO’s, and we try to do whatever we can,” shares Melih  Ekener, Executive Director of SAT-7 TÜRK .

“The situation is worse than it is portrayed on television or on social media,” shares Refik Topcu, Vice President and Consultant of NGO First Hope, operating in Turkey. “It isn’t just the physical damage to buildings and the deaths, there is also a lot of fear and worry.”

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, 17 buildings have collapsed or suffered damage, more than 900 people were injured, and 91 deaths have been confirmed[2]. Under these circumstances, First Hope is coordinating with governmental organisations, using connections and resources to help the search and rescue efforts.

“We are witnessing miracles as people continue to be rescued from among the rubble,” Topcu shares. Yesterday, 2 November, a three year old girl was rescued after being trapped under rubble for 65 hours[3]. “When people are rescued, it brings the community together and it gives them strength,” Topcu comments.

The channel is continuing to support and encourage its viewers during this challenging time. By publishing messages from church leaders across the country, the channel is also helping build solidarity for Izmir among the Christian community.

First Hope owns two mobile hygiene trucks, one of which was used by rescue teams on Sunday, providing easy acccess to clean water. With the aid of volunteers, First Hope was able to provide food aid, blankets, and hygiene items to many of those affected by the earthquake. “We are working hard to increase our response, we are very happy to be able to provide this aid,” shares Topcu. “We want to continue raising awareness among people, so that they will know how to react and help one another.”

Izmir continues to experience aftershocks. Three minutes before the interview, Topcu shares that the city experienced a further shock at 4.1 magnitude. “People are afraid to stay indoors, thousands of people are in the streets,” he says. “56 open spaces such as parks and stadiums across the city have been converted into temorary accomodation,” Topcu adds. “So far, 4000 tents have been raised, however, more will probably be needed.” With thousands of people left homeless and forced to sleep outdoors, there is great concern as the nights grow colder during the winter months. “There is a desperate need for food, blankets, and hygiene products,” Topcu explains.

“The earthquake in Izmir impacted us all deeply – we have not slept in days,” shares Melih Ekener, Executive Director of SAT-7 TÜRK. “We pray that people will be rescued from among the rubble, and that the people who have lost loved ones will be comforted.”

How to Pray
  • Pray for people in Izmir living in fear and worry.
  • Pray for the families, the people who have lost their loved ones, may they be comforted, renewed, receive spiritual strength and healing.
  • Pray for the search and rescue teams as they continue to find people trapped alive under the rubble. Pray for psychological healing.
  • Turkey is a country crisscrossed by fault lines, and the people are expecting another earthquake, especially in Istanbul. Pray that precautions will be taken so that future tragedies and loss of life will be prevented.

[1] https://ilkumutdernegi.org/izmir-depremi/

[2] https://www.afad.gov.tr/izmir-seferihisar-depremi-duyuru-52-02112020—1545

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-54778682

Photo credit: First Hope Association – Emergency response NGO.

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