Sheepshead Bay might be dubbed Little Odessa, but with scads of Turkish-owned businesses and organizations, and a rising number of Turkish neighbors, Turkey is on the minds of many following a devastating earthquake.
A 7.2-magnitude quake rocked the country on Sunday, racking up a toll of 459 dead, 1,352 injured and tens of thousands left homeless, according to the nation’s Disaster and Emergency Administration said. The final count is expected to rise as many people are still missing among the ruins of 2,262 collapsed buildings across Van province, a quake-prone region near the Iranian border. The country is also facing shortages of tents and other relief items.
Here in Sheepshead Bay, the Turkish community is struggling to reach friends and family in their homeland.
“The telephone system in the region is damaged and other circuits are jammed due to heavy phone traffic,” reports the Gravesend-based Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn (245 Avenue U). “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims who lost their loved ones, relatives, and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible earthquake. We ask God Almighty to give them relief and hope in the difficult days ahead. We wish for an earliest recovery, materially and spiritually.”
To aid in that recovery, the Brooklyn TCC – and all 24 other TCCs across the east coast – have partnered with Helping Hands Relief Foundation to send donations to Turkey. The group reports that “many American friends, community, religious and business leaders and elected officials have responded quickly and offered help in any way that they can.”
You, too, can help by making a donation online through Helping Hands. You can also make donations by check. Checks must be made payable to Helping Hands Relief Foundation, and can be dropped off or mailed to the TCC-Brooklyn at 245 Avenue U.