PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The damage from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey Sunday (see related story) is thousands of miles away, but it hits home right here in Philadelphia where Turkish-Americans are already working on a plan to send help across the Atlantic Ocean.
“We always felt unsafe,” said restaurant owner Ilker Ugur. “[A] major earthquake fault line passes through Turkey.”
Ugur says he moved his mother out of western Turkey because of the constant threat of quakes.
“We feel very safe here.”
The country sits on a major fault line and earthquakes are an ever-present threat. Sal Kucuk, another Turkish-American restaurant owner, says each time they come they are terrifying, and too often deadly.
“Our heart and soul goes out to the people in Turkey,” said Kucuk. “It should never have happened, but mother nature,” he said trailing off. “What do you do?”
Muharrem Johan says any amount of money or supplies will help an area that has a long rebuilding process ahead of it. There is also added fear the death toll will rise.
Authorities say the earthquake killed at least 93 people in the city of Van and 45 people in a nearby town called Ercis.
“We are trying to raise the fundraising tonight. Personally, we donated $1,000 right away,” said Johan.
About 10 years ago, an earthquake rocked the western part of Turkey, killing nearly 20,000 people. Although it does not seem this earthquake was nearly as bad, the loss of even a single life is tragic.
Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3