Beginning on October 23rd, 2011, several destructive magnitude 7.1M earthquakes occurred at a shallow depth of 20 km (12.4 mi), causing heavy shaking across much of Eastern Turkey. These earthquakes caused the worst harm in the town of Ercis, where more than 25,000 lives were lost, thousands of buildings were damaged, and more than 30,000 were left homeless.
While the government and many organizations such as Turkey’s Red Crescent and the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation have worked hard to accommodate people’s needs, the Shepherd’s Gift Foundation saw an opportunity to lend a helping hand. Due to road conditions and inaccessibility, many survivors of the tragedy were left without access to aid. Our volunteers worked tirelessly to deliver more than 24 tons of rice, pasta, tea flour, and other dry goods to Van, just 56 miles south of Ercis, reaching almost 750 families in need.
While in action, our devoted volunteers noticed two things: genuine smiles and unending hospitality among the receiving individuals. Even when they lost most of their family members and every possession, they still had a cup of hot tea to serve and a warm hug to give.