Turkey Earthquake Relief Work
Following the devastating earthquakes across Turkey and Syria at the end of January, Concord Lead Boarding Parent, Julie Kim, flew to Adana to spend her half term doing important relief work. She was joined by her husband and their son, Samuel, who is a 6.1. Concord Student, as well as Concord alumni, Mia Nguyen and Sebastian Toms (both 2019 leavers). The Kim family lived in Turkey for a decade prior to the earthquakes, so their ability to speak Turkish has made it easier for them to connect with and help survivors.
Their time in Turkey consisted of long days; loading up vans with basic necessities (food, water, clothing and logs) before driving these back to affected areas and working alongside locals to distribute the supplies to those who needed them. Families and individuals who have lost their homes in the earthquakes are now living on the streets- in tents or cars if they are fortunate enough.
Alongside delivering physical supplies to those in need, the helpers also formed emotional connections- and sometimes friendships- with those who had been left homeless, and often injured too. Most survivors had no belongings and many had, distressingly, lost family members in the earthquakes.
“To hear it on the news and to hear it from a human being crying on your shoulder is another feeling entirely”. Said Julie, reflecting upon the companionships that were formed with those who had been impacted.
Upon arriving back in the UK, the team were shocked to see that news coverage of the situations in both Turkey and Syria has significantly decreased. As a result, Julie has been working hard to keep her friends and family informed about the long-term impact of the earthquakes: “I am using social media to introduce a few people [that I met in Turkey], day by day, in the hope that they, and so many others like them, will not be forgotten”.
Julie is returning to Turkey next month, in her Easter break, where she and her family will continue to provide support to those who are affected by the earthquakes. In the wake of the disasters, the team have highlighted the new need for long-term support, rather than the emergency relief that was provided last month. Those who have had their livelihoods uprooted by the earthquakes across Turkey and Syria are likely to be homeless for months, even years, so the team understand the importance of their sustained relief work.