Please help buy tents for earthquake victims!

A friend here has started a campaign to raise money to buy tents for the earthquake victims.  This is a more direct route to donate, getting around the red tape. Below is information directly from her.  Please send a comment or email me at AnkaraLegalEnglish@gmail.com and I will send you the details on how to get your donations to Marlene.

From Marlene:

In late 2010/early 2011, I organized a short-term relief project to help the folks in Karşıyaka, Ankara
during the winter. The generous support of the Ankara community for that successful project, which was greatly appreciated by the people of Karşıyaka,
is outlined below this present message.

Now, in late October 2011, in response to a direct plea for help from residents in the Zilan Valley, which is a bit north of Erciş in the Van province of Turkey (the area that was hard-hit by the
Sunday morning 22 October 2011 earthquake), I am launching a campaign to procure 25 tents that have been requested by the villagers in the Zilan Valley.

The cost of each tent is 500 Turkish lira.

The tents will be delivered to the Zilan Valley villagers from a supplier in Doğubeyazit.

I am coordinating these efforts with Van province local Mr. Mehmet Bozbay, a friend of mine for several years and known to many in the Ankara community who have met him when he comes to Ankara from Van for his carpet exhibitions.

I have contributed the first 500 lira toward the purchase of one tent.  Now, I am seeking contributions from you, members of the Ankara community, to meet the remaining need of 12,000 Turkish lira for 24 more tents.

After the Karşıyaka project update below, there is a news story about the situation in the quake-stricken area.

Our help is needed immediately.

Thank you in advance for your support in procuring these tents for the villagers in the Zilan Valley.

Most sincerely,

Marlene

Please send a comment or email me at AnkaraLegalEnglish@gmail.com and I will send you the details on how to get your donations to Marlene.

The additional information mentioned by Marlene:

Greetings,

I would like to thank all of you who contributed to the Karşıyaka New Year-Warm Winter Project to
benefit the working poor in late 2010-early 2011.

Attached [removed from this post] is an inventory of the more than 1200 items collected during the approximately month-long donation period.

In addition to helping many folks in the Karşıyaka district of Ankara, the project was also able to sponsor two families making only 650 lira per month living in the Sincan district of Ankara.

This project also brought people together in the Ankara community who did not previously know each other. As such, they were able to share stories,
experiences, aspects of our common humanity.

If you would like to contribute in the future, you can either contact me or directly contact Mahmut Agaya, Karşıyaka’s İlk Yardım Yardımlaşma Dernegi
Başkanı. Mahmut Bey ensured that the items collected for this project were appropriately distributed and would welcome any more donations.

Sincerely,

Marlene

NEWS STORY ON 23 OCTOBER 2011 EASTERN TURKEY EARTHQUAKE

By Jonathon Burch
and Seda Sezer
| Reuters –  23 mins ago

ERCIS, Turkey (Reuters) – Rescuers pulled a
two-week-old baby girl alive from the arms of her mother buried under a
collapsed building on Tuesday as a search continued for survivors from a quake
in eastern Turkey that killed at least 366 people and left thousands homeless.

Hope of finding people alive under tons of
rubble was fading with every passing hour as rescuers pulled out more bodies
and thousands of residents slept for a second night in crowded tents or huddled
around fires and in cars across a region rattled by aftershocks in Van
province, near the Iranian border.

With victims accusing the central government of
being slow in delivering aid to a region inhabited mostly by minority Kurds,
Ankara said it was sending more tents and blankets.

“We have no tents, everybody is living
outdoors. Van has collapsed psychologically, life has stopped. Tens of
thousands are on the streets. Everybody is in panic,” Kemal Balci, a
construction worker said as he awaited news on friends injured in the quake at
a hospital in the city of Van.

“Aid has been arriving late. Van has been
reduced to zero. We have no jobs, no bread, no water and there are nine members
in my family. If the government doesn’t give a hand to Van it will be like
Afghanistan. Van has been pushed back 100 years.”

The 7.2-magnitude quake, Turkey’s most powerful
in a decade, is one more affliction for Kurds, the dominant ethnic group in
impoverished southeast Turkey, where more than 40,000 people have been killed
in a three-decade-long separatist insurgency.

On Monday, Turkish tanks and armored vehicles
crossed into northern Iraq headed in the direction of a Kurdish militant camp
as part of cross-border operations in the wake of an attack last week by Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) fighters that killed 24 Turkish soldiers.

Quake rescue efforts focused on Ercis,
a town of 100,000 that was worst hit, and the provincial capital Van, which has
a population of one million.

Emergency workers extracted the infant girl
alive from the wreckage on Tuesday, two days after it was buried with its
mother under an apartment block.[nL5E7LP28B]

The mother was clutching the child to her chest
when the were reached by rescuers, who set about rescuing the mother and a
grandmother who were also still alive.

“We’re going to get them out soon,” a
rescuer assured the other grandmother, whose eyes brimmed with tears of joy
over the survival of her grandchild.

Elsewhere, exhausted workers used machinery,
jackhammers, shovels, pick axes and bare hands to comb through rubble. Every so
often, they would shout for silence and generators and diggers would stop,
straining to hear voices under the wreckage. Seconds later the drone of the
machinery would start again.

Officials said 12,000 more tents would reach Van
on Tuesday after complaints that entire families were cramming into tents and
television images showed desperate men pushing each other roughly to grab tents
from the back of a Red Crescent truck.

The Turkish Red Crescent has said it was
preparing temporary shelter for about 40,000 people, although there were no
reliable figures for the homeless. Many residents spent the night outside
fearing any return to their damaged homes.

SLOW RESPONSE

Turkish authorities have been criticized for
failing to ensure that some of the neediest, particularly in villages, received
tents as night temperatures plummeted.

“Life has become hell. We are outside, the
weather is cold. There are no tents,” said Emin Kayram, 53, sitting by a
camp fire in Ercis after spending the night with his family of eight in a van
parked nearby.

His nephew was trapped in the debris of a
building behind him, where rescue workers had been digging through the night.

“He is 18, a student. He is still stuck in
there. This is the third day but you can’t lose hope. We have to wait
here.”

How fast Ankara manages to deliver aid and
long-term relief to the survivors might have political consequences in a region
plagued by poverty and the Kurdish insurgency, analysts said.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who secured a
third consecutive term with a strong majority at a June election, has pledged
to push reforms in parliament and rewrite the constitution to address long-time
Kurdish grievances in an effort to end violence.

“If we want to win the hearts of our
brothers of Kurdish origin, we should act now. We should beat the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with this approach, which is more effective than
arms,” leading commentator Mehmet Ali Birand wrote.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Administration
said on Tuesday the death toll had risen to 366, with 1,301 people injured. The
overnight death toll stood at 279.

The death count was likely to rise further as
many people were still missing and 2,262 buildings have collapsed.

“It was like judgment day,” said Mesut
Ozan Yilmaz, 18, who survived for 32 hours under the rubble of a tea house
where he had been passing time with friends.

Unhurt but lying on a hospital bed under a thick
blanket, his face blackened by dust and dirt, Yilmaz gave a chilling account to
CNN Turk of how he survived by diving under a table.

“The space we had was so narrow. People
were fighting for more space to survive,” Yilmaz said. “I rested my
head on a dead man’s foot. I know I would be dead now if I had let myself go
psychologically.”

The government has received offers of aid from
dozens of countries around the world, including from former ally Israel, but
has so far accepted aid only from Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Iran.

The center of Van resembled a ghost town with no
lights in the streets or buildings. Hardly any people could be seen.

The sense of dislocation was even greater in
Ercis. With no homes to go back to, thousands of people, mostly men, paced the
streets, stopping to look at the destruction or whenever there was some
commotion at a rescue site.

At one collapsed building on the main road
through Ercis, exhausted rescue workers shouted at crowds of men pushing
forward to catch a glimpse as efforts were made to free a woman’s corpse from
the rubble.

“Get back. Are you not human? Show some
respect. Do we not have any honor or pride?” one rescue worker yelled.
Crowds formed at one demolished building where bystanders said a trapped boy
had made contact by mobile phone.

As a rescue team dug at the rubble, one man
screamed at the workers: “Where were you last night? I told you last night
there were people here.”

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing
by Ibon Villelabeitia, Daren Butler and Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Mark
Heinrich)

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