PORTLAND, Ore. — As the people of Turkey and Syria work to find survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck the border of both countries, Turkish-Americans in Portland are doing what they can to raise money for medical aid and winter clothing.
President of the Oregon Turkish American Association Melike Kayim has been frantic for the last few days. Kayim still has family and friends living in Turkey.
"My family by a stroke of luck was not effected," Kayim said. "My brother was suppose to be in one of those cities for a business meeting that day but there was a snow storm in Istanbul but his flight got cancelled the day before, that's why he didn't go but he was suppose to be there."
More than 6,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey alone, and the death toll rose to over 7,000. Kayim said even though her family was not effected, she still feels like the people living in the earthquake zone are her brothers and sisters.
Kayim is from Istanbul, which is on the opposite side of the country from where the earthquake hit.
"We are trying, as the Turkish community here in Oregon, to get together and raise funds and collect donations to send over to Turkey," Kayim said.
If people want to donate, they can go to the Oregon Turkish American Association website here.
"Our friends and neighbors are coming through, they are donating to our earthquake fund, and our charity drive, and we are just so blessed that we have the strong support from our community," Kayim said.
So far, the association has been able to raise over $7,000.
Kayim also has a message for the Syrians struggling to recover after the earthquake.
"Our hearts go out to our Syrian neighbors," Kayim said. "It is one human tragedy on top of another, our hearts are with them."