UK Turkish community group closes quake appeal after being overwhelmed with donations

UK Turkish community group closes quake appeal after being overwhelmed with donations

A Turkish community group in the UK has thanked the public after being flooded with donations from people wanting to help those affected by the earthquakes back home.

West London Turkish Volunteers put out a call for donations to Hounslow and neighbouring communities following Monday’s devastating quakes, which by Thursday afternoon had killed more than 17,000 people.

Organisers said the response was immediate and overwhelming.

They had hoped to fill 500 boxes with items such as clothes, nappies and duvets but were forced to call an early halt to the appeal after reaching double that number.

More than 100 people turned out to help the volunteers organise the donations.

“The donations started two days ago,” said Ozkan Kalkan, chairman of the volunteer group.

“We were thinking of continuing it until Friday but the response we have had has been massive. We have had to stop it because we won’t be able to ship it out otherwise.

“We were aiming to do 500 boxes but we have actually gone over 1,000. The community reaction has been massive. We have had volunteers from all over the place, all nationalities. We have more than 100 people right now helping out, which is brilliant.”

He encouraged the public to follow the group’s website, saying it will keep people up to date with proceedings.

“I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the communities. So yes, thank you very much. And just keep the prayers up.”

One volunteer, Semra Kussan, said there were too many boxes to count — with more coming in all the time.

“The reaction from the community is lovely. Everyone is wanting to help. We have got so much stuff. Lots of food, and for babies lots of stuff.”

She said efforts were being made to organise items to keep people warm, “because in Turkey now it’s really cold”.

“Lots of duvets, kids clothes, pampers, food for babies, hot clothes,” she added. “We are trying to send only winter stuff. And shoes.”

The shipment is expected to be flown by Turkish Airlines on Monday.

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