February 7, 2023
Dear Fishers Island Friends,
Last summer, two of our employees, Onur Iltas and Ozzie Taha Gunes came to us on an exchange program from Turkey. We were very relieved to find out that they and their families are okay and have not suffered losses in the recent catastrophic earthquakes.
These guys were lovely to have on the island and we really enjoyed their stay. They waited tables, loaded the coolers, and really helped out last summer at the Pequot and Food Arts Café. They had a good experience here and now have that special relationship with the island that the rest of us do.
Ozzie confirmed all the news you’ve seen about the tragic impact of the earthquake and how desperate the situation is in Turkey. “…it’s really bad for people. Thousands of people died. A lot of people are under collapsed buildings and we can’t help them. Government can’t reach everybody. At night temperature gets very low, and people are freezing.”
Obviously similar accounts are popping up on your phone or when you turn on the TV. But when you hear from someone you know well, and it’s happening around them, in their country, it makes it all feel much more real and urgent.
I sincerely hope you will consider a donation to the relief efforts. There are a number of well-respected organizations on the ground, which you can find in The New York Times article below.
The New York Times published this information
By Ben Shpigel
Published Feb. 6, 2023, Updated Feb. 7, 2023, 4:32 a.m. ET
The rescue and recovery efforts in Syria and Turkey are underway after the most powerful earthquake to strike the region in almost a century killed thousands of people, left thousands more injured and flattened thousands of buildings and homes.
The magnitude 7.8 quake and its aftershocks have unleashed a humanitarian disaster of unfathomable proportions.
Governments around the world are pledging assistance, deploying search teams, medical squads and equipment, and offering aid, as families who have lost their homes endure near-freezing temperatures.
Here are some ways you can help.
Before you give, do your research.
Before you make a donation, especially to a lesser-known organization, you should do some research to make sure it is reputable. Sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar grade nonprofits based on transparency and effectiveness. The Internal Revenue Service also allows you to search its database to find out whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.
And if you suspect an organization or individual of committing fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, part of the Justice Department.
Many national and international organizations are helping.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, better known as UNICEF, said it is in Syria and prioritizing water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, and also focusing on helping unaccompanied children locate their families. UNICEF is accepting donations.
Global Giving, which helps local nonprofit agencies, is collecting donations to help fund emergency medical workers’ ability to provide food, shelter and medicine, among other necessities. As needs in Turkey and Syria change, the organization will focus on long-term assistance, it said.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is requesting donations for its Disaster Response Emergency Fund so it can send “immediate cash assistance.”
OXFAM, an international organization that fights poverty, said it is working with women’s cooperatives in Turkey to determine an appropriate immediate and long-term response plan. It is accepting donations.
CARE, an organization that works with impoverished communities, is accepting donations that will go toward food, shelter and hygiene kits, among other items.
Doctors Without Borders, which responds to medical emergencies around the world, is collecting donations.
The Syrian American Medical Society, a United States-based humanitarian group that supplies medical care in Syria and nearby countries, is collecting donations to deliver emergency aid. At least one of its hospitals in northwestern Syria, Al Dana, received major damage.
Save the Children is accepting donations for its Children’s Emergency Fund, which will help provide children with food, shelter and warm clothing.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, which since 2012 has provided medical relief and health care services inside Syria and to Syrian refugees in Turkey, is collecting money.
Alyssa Lukpat contributed reporting.
BBC: Turkey earthquake: Where did it hit and why was it so deadly?