Update on the situation in Turkey
July will mark seven months since the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The wreckage from the quakes left the people in the area desperate for humanitarian assistance. There was also a great opening for our team to serve their community and shine a light in a very dark part of the world.
We want to provide you with an update on what has been happening in Turkey. Below is part of a letter written by a long-time teammate in Turkey.
My wife and I revisited the earthquake zone with a small group from our church. Our team joined the work in one of the aid stations there.
State and local governments are rapidly removing the rubble of the destroyed buildings. There are still hundreds, perhaps thousands of buildings waiting to be demolished. People are trying to get the last of their belongings out of the buildings. The last belongings they can salvage will surely help them build their new lives. Please let us continue to pray for the families, and people turned upside down by the earthquake. It is not, and will not be easy to start a new life.
We see tent cities everywhere. However, with the heat, tents are becoming less habitable. The weather conditions and reptiles such as insects, snakes, and scorpions, which they are not used to living with, make staying in tents even more unfavorable for earthquake victims. After proper shelter, drinking and domestic water for showers and toilets are the most significant needs. Many people we talked to said, "We don't want to eat anymore. We want an environment where we can cook our own food and eat with our own families, not hundreds of people!" For these reasons, containers are a much more practical alternative shelter option. Container cities are being built to house tens or hundreds of families. The containers, which are around 226 square feet, consist of a small bedroom, a small living room, and a tiny shower/bathroom. They offer a minimal living opportunities until the families can build new lives.
Many people we talked to said, "We don't want to eat anymore. We want an environment where we can cook our own food and eat with our own families, not hundreds of people!"
Our brothers and sisters in faith are still active everywhere. Praise be to God. People's needs continue to be met. Food, supplies, and clothing. This is a source of pride for all of us, our faith, and the Church. Our brothers and sisters who support financially, prayerfully, and who put their hands under the stone all serve with love and respect. How thankful we are for them, dear brothers and sisters. The church in Turkey is the shining face of the global church, the gospel in action. The Church in Turkey has been the instrument of the Lord's love to oppressed people who are suffering, to people in need of mercy and love.
We also see the global church at work in this region materially and spiritually. We have seen dozens of brothers and sisters coming to help people whose language and culture they do not know but whose suffering and needs they see. In every way, dear brothers and sisters, we should be thankful to the global church for their prayers, for their support, and for standing with us and our people at a time like this. May the Lord bless them more and more. May the blessings they have seen here and received spiritually anoint and bless these brothers and sisters and their church.
As you can see, there is still a great need in Turkey. Recovering will take years. We are working with our team in Turkey to find the best time to bring teams of people to help with the work needed to rebuild. When we have more details, we will share the opportunities available for you to join the relief efforts. Please continue to pray for Turkey and our workers to endure and reflect God’s love to those they serve.