Aid Groups Building Homes from Plywood for Turkey's Traumatized Quake Survivors
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HATAY, Turkey – Another aftershock shook southern Turkey today, damaging buildings and killing at least one more person. Despite the dangers, groups like CBN's Operation Blessing continue to serve in the quake zone.
Millions of Turkish people are relying on the generosity of others across the globe – long-term housing being the most difficult necessity to come by.
The United Nations estimates the earthquakes affected roughly 20 million people across 200 miles of devastation. Early projections say highly damaged cities will take at least 5 years to recover and rebuild. Thankfully, many have answered the call to help those seeking refuge, including Operation Blessing.
"These people are hurting in a way that most of us don't understand," said one volunteer named Jarod with Crisis Response International. "The amount of trauma in the land doesn't go away overnight. And the longer we can be here to love and care for these people, being aware and stepping back in these organizations as we go."
The Turkish government and non-profits are putting up tents in cities – some near homes still waiting to fall. While they have been a God-send for those impacted, they only last so long – likely for only three months.
"They're wounded with trauma and heartbroken," Jarod said.
He and his team have coordinated with another NGO, which remains anonymous, purchasing local supplies to build long-term housing for people with nowhere to go. Kurt Miller, an Istanbul coffee shop owner is coordinating the project, building 10 homes in four cities since the first earthquake.
"We made these homes primarily with plywood, we sourced the material here in Turkey," Miller said.
Miller says each home costs roughly $2,750. They can be made with a metal roof and are capable of being torn down and relocated – or even extended with additional panels.
"First off, tents are a short-term solution," Miller said. "It's terrible living conditions and can only last for a couple months at best."
Miller is working with churches across the region of Hatay, giving jobs and hope to those people with nothing left.
CBN News visited the 10th home built by volunteers across four cities. While they're meant to last for roughly two years, it's estimated Turkey will use them up to 10.
"That's why Operation Blessing shows up – to be a little drop in the ocean, but it's meaningful," said Diego Traverso, Operation Blessing's Disaster Relief Director.
After 3 sizeable earthquakes, there is only one open road into Hatay, #Turkey. That means the journey for incoming supplies is slow and treacherous. #OBI's warehouse has turned into a distribution center to meet the need.https://t.co/0LOk2dLc9L#TurkeyEarthquake2023 #CBNNews— Operation Blessing (@operationbless) February 25, 2023
Diego knows how far financial support can go in these situations. He's operating out of a Hatay village, his team is feeding people and helping those suffering from post-traumatic stress.
"We want to spend time, we want to invest in them, love them – that's why we are here," said Diego.
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