Bay Area relief effort continues for earthquake victims
SAN JOSE, Calif. - For Hiba Dahbour, Wednesday's midday lunch break is no break at all. She's one of many people shuttling earthquake relief supplies to a 2,500-square-foot warehouse in North San Jose.
"Me and my friends, there’s not really much we can do from here…in terms of helping people on the ground…so we just really needed to figure out what we could do," she said.
This continued course, undertaken since Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked parts of Turkey and Syria, has people donating items to a trio of Turkish relief groups around the Bay Area. Those groups are The Hidaya Foundation, Diyanet Silicon Valley, and Zakat Foundation of America.
The Hidaya Foundation is staffing the North San Jose site from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
"We’re getting a good response. People want to help. People have seen the images from over there, and our hearts are broken. So naturally, people will want to do what they can," said Osman Ergene, the foundation’s operations manager.
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The current list of needed items includes shelter and clothing; tents, sleeping bags, and warm clothing. Health supplies are also needed, from surgical kits and defibrillators to bandages, crutches, and feminine hygiene products.
The supplies are being driven to San Francisco International Airport, and then flown via Turkish Airlines twice a day –once in the morning and once in the afternoon, to Istanbul. The non-profit Diyanet Foundation is spearheading this part of the relief effort.
"Once it gets to Istanbul, they need to get it to those places over there," said Ergene.
Experts believed physical donations are good, but dollars make more sense.
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"Money is the best way to provide assistance in these cases," said Prof. Ken Gray, a national security expert who lectures on disaster response at the University of New Haven. "And that money can buy supplies at the destination."
All three of these non-profits say monetary donation links are listed on their websites.
Officials said they’ll assess needs on the ground and possibly shift collection priorities in the coming days.
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"It’s a long haul, there’s no way this is gonna be a short-term thing," said Dahbour.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv