SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The death toll in Turkey and Syria from last week’s devastating earthquake surpassed 35,000 Monday and rescue efforts are coming to a close.
Local family members of those affected are trying to raise money for their loved ones living amongst the rubble. On Sunday, a group gathered at San Francisco’s Dolores Park to raise awareness and funds for the people of Turkey and Syria.
“I lost two of my friends that I know in this earthquake,” said Ismael Akar, California Kurdish Community Center. Two of Akar’s friends were crushed in the rubble in the hard-hit area of Hatay.
Akar is using his voice to help survivors trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. “They need medical supplies, they need shelters, they need containers to stay in, they need water, they need food, they need everything,” said Akar.
Turkish officials are investigating more than 300 people, who they say had a hand in constructing some of the buildings that failed to withstand the 7.8 earthquake.
“It’s worse than any dystopic, apocalyptic sci-fi movie you can imagine. City collapsed. Everything is in pieces, especially at night. There is still no power out there,” said Ali Yagiz Sen whose sister lives in Turkey.
Yagiz Sen has been receiving updates from his sister who lives in Istanbul and has been volunteering at animal hospitals near the epicenter.
In Turkey, the financial damage is estimated to be around $84-billion. Syria’s financial damage is harder to estimate because of the country’s ongoing civil war making it harder for humanitarian aid to be reached.
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Sen started a GoFundMe with others in the Bay Area and will be sending those donations to both countries.
“Exchange right now from United States dollar to Turkish is 18-point-something the last I checked. Even if it’s just five dollars, it’s a cream cheese bagel here. That means a lot in Turkey,” said Sen.
On Monday, Turkish authorities said that more than 150,000 survivors who have been displaced have been moved to shelters outside of the affected provinces.
Click here for the GoFundMe page.