A Victoria woman is currently in Turkey coordinating aid efforts in the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes that struck the region.
Majel Wilson, who works with the non-profit organization Global Empowerment Mission, arrived in the city of Adana just after the first earthquake hit on Feb. 6. She has since been working with local officials to distribute desperately needed supplies to those affected by the quakes.
Wilson spoke to CHEK News via Zoom from the city of Mersin in south-central Turkey and shared her firsthand account of the disaster.
“The damage and the devastation here is immeasurable,” she said. “When you go into these villages, and there is absolutely nothing there…there’s rubble. You cannot put into words how it looks over here. It’s unbelievable.”
In addition to Wilson, other British Columbians have also been involved in the rescue efforts. Burnaby’s 10-member Urban Search and Rescue team recently returned from the earthquake zone in Turkey and received a hero’s welcome.
Last Thursday, the team helped pull a woman out from beneath a collapsed six-story concrete apartment building.
“When that girl was pulled out of the building, it was obviously a very special moment,” said Berry.
“We’d probably been there six hours helping out. There was a group of Turkish miners who were there. They were the ones that were actually inside, shoring up, and trying to get to her. When she came out, they were obviously very emotional.”
The rebuilding in Turkey will take years, but for now, the primary focus is simply surviving without shelter in harsh conditions.
Wilson emphasizes that financial contributions are the best way to help in any disaster, as it allows people on the ground to work quickly and buy aid locally.
“Every single person we meet has lost somebody here. But at the same time they are coming together because they know they have to. Everybody is coming,” Wilson said.
The effort to aid those affected by the earthquake in Turkey is ongoing as the death toll from the earthquakes has now surpassed 41,000.