DC-area groups trying to help earthquake victims in Turkey

D.C.-area organizations with close ties to Turkey are working to help earthquake victims, and they are looking for support.

The Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Maryland, is taking donations, and Director Ahmet Salih Bayraktar said many people are in a desperate situation.

“People are sleeping outside, in their cars, in the mosques, in sports centers,” he said.

Donations of winter clothing and blankets can be brought to the center at 9610 Good Luck Road.

Because of ties in the region, Diyanet was able to arrange immediate help right after the earthquake, which killed more than 4,000 people.

“We were able to get a truckload of blankets in the early hours to the victims,” Bayraktar said.

Another agency helping is the American Turkish Association of D.C.

Secretary Ozge Ovun Sert said her agency has also set up a fundraiser for the desperate situation.

“The earthquake is not the only problem in that area because there’s also a big winter storm,” Sert said.

At least eight large cities are affected, as well as hard to reach rural areas.

“It’s really, really bad, like thousands of houses are already demolished,” Sert said.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team Virginia Task Force 1, which includes many Fairfax County Fire and Rescue crews, is gearing up to help, as well.

Kyle Cooper

Anchor and reporter Kyle Cooper, has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana, and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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