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Turkish community in Germany gathers to help earthquake victims

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Turkish community in Germany gathers to help earthquake victims
Donations such as clothes and baby products sit in a closed bar in Hamburg-Altona on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bodo Marks | Bodo Marks

The earthquake in Turkey and northern Syria has shaken the whole of Germany - but especially those who have relatives in the disaster area. 

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In dozens of cities in Germany, donations are being collected for victims of the massive earthquake, which as of Wednesday afternoon had claimed more than 11,000 lives.

People are bringing tent stoves, flashlights, diapers, fleece blankets, and hand warmers. One of the many collection points has been organized by the German-Turkish care service Dosteli in Berlin.

At the governmental level, Germany -- home to about three million people of Turkish origin -- will" mobilise all the assistance we can activate", Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Wednesday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had a call with Erdogan and sent his "deep condolences", as a search and rescue team left Tuesday afternoon with 50 rescuers and equipment. 

​​The EU said it was "funding humanitarian organisations that are carrying out search and rescue operations" in Syria as well as providing water and sanitation support and distributing blankets.

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Charities line up to help

Particularly in Berlin, where over eight percent of the population is of Turkish origin, people have lined up down streets to drop off supplies. But they have led large donation efforts in cities like Frankfurt and Hamburg, where several businesses like bars set aside space to collect supplies,

The Dostali team had been sorting clothes and hygiene items all night, packing them and loading them into trucks. "Almost the entire Turkish diaspora in Berlin was there,” one volunteer told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)

The helpers organized themselves via appeals in social media. From the collection points, the donations are to be transported by trucks and planes to the affected regions. 

READ ALSO: Who are Germany's foreign population and where do they live?

In response to an inquiry from the FAZ, Turkish Airlines confirmed that it was delivering donations from 14 countries to the Turkish crisis areas, Germany being one of them.

The Turkish community in Germany is well connected via social media - "and everyone wants to help," said Kübra Oguz, a volunteer with the Puduhepa e.V., initiative founded by Turkish migrant women.

In order for this to happen in a targeted manner, she recommended directly donating money, which could then be funneled to buy food, hygiene products or shoes, depending on the need.

Several organisations in Germany and worldwide are also accepting donations for humanitarian aid, include UNICEF, Save the Children and Aktion Deutschland Hilft.

With reporting from AFP.

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