Bay Area groups raising funds for victims of Turkey-Syria earthquake

A prayer was held Monday on the Peninsula for the victims of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey, and Syria.

Members of the Turkish American Religious Foundation (TARF) gathered in Redwood City to pray and also continue fundraising efforts for family, friends, and other victims impacted by the powerful quake no matter their background or beliefs.

"It is one of the most mixed places in Turkey. There are Christians, Jews, and people from other religions in the same area, as well as Muslims. I think we're looking beyond the boundaries of religions and just trying to help another fellow human being," said Oguz Olcay of TARF.

Huya Koc co-founder of the nonprofit Empowering Turkish American Communities (ETAC-USA), is also raising funds. The organization is familiar with relief efforts as it relates to Turkish disasters, from earthquakes to mega-fires.

On Monday, a fault line broke apart through 10 provinces along the Turkey-Syria border, destroying thousands of buildings, many residential, and killing 3,400 people.

"We know that the first phase of the aid you get is the money that you give to the rescue team. And then our second phase becomes food, shelter, and clothing for these individuals who have survived but have lost their houses," said Koc.

Both groups know exactly how to get the money to the people who need it most and who will use it as intended.

"And the most important thing here is that we have vetted all of the organizations we have partnered with in Turkey. So people have confidence in our ability to give to the right people," said Koc.

"This is not for our organization at all. What we want to do is transfer 100% of all the money over to Turkey, as well as dollars from our own pockets," added Olcay.

The aftershocks from Monday's pre-dawn earthquake mean more devastation will come.

"Those themselves are pretty big earthquakes and if a building is already damaged, a second shake comes and it takes it down," said Olcay.

People who wish to donate to relief efforts for the earthquake victims can do so through the Diyanet Silicon Valley and ETAC-USA.