Adiyaman Sumerler Mahallesi
Our local connection, Lale Aykanat, professional real estate consultant and a volunteer activist, drove her caravan from her hometown Istanbul to Adiyaman Providence a day after two massive earthquakes that destroyed the area. With the support of her network of friends from high school, college, Remax Real Estate, caravan groups and Utah Turkish American Association (UTAA), she filled up her caravan with immediate needs including food, clothing, sanitary and medical supplies for the earthquake victims and survivors. She settled in an area with the fully collapsed or highly damaged 4-5 story apartment buildings. Since then, she has been supporting families in Sumerevler neighborhood which is close distance to Adiyaman city center. Before the earthquake, Sumerevler neighborhood had a total population of around 15,000 people. More than 1000 people died and twice injured and more than half the population already moved out of the area at the aftermath of the disaster.
Lale Aykanat initially started supporting a family of around 40 people. Shortly after touching the lives and earning the trust and hearts of other families, she expanded her individual humanitarian support to around 800 people in 150 tents who refused to leave their apartment’s vicinity. Her aid focused on amputated and special need kids, pregnant women, newborn babies, and all kids between 2 to 15 years of age and elderly family members. She found tents and containers for families in need, arranged supply of potable water, and hot meals twice a day. She has been distributing health snacks during daily happy hour for more than 200 kids. She provided mattresses, wheelchairs, and portable toilettes for all elderly and disabled citizens.
As Utah Turkish American Association (UTAA), we have been constantly in contact with Lale Aykanat and supplied immediate and long term needs of the Sumerevler community. UTAA provided clothing, toys, books, educational supplies for children including special need kids. In addition, strollers and maternity supplies for pregnant women and their expected new-born babies along with special needs for elderly people. UTAA is committed to continue relief efforts for the Sumerevler community.
Adiyaman - Besni
Our local connection Hasan Emre identified more than 30 children who lost one or both parents in the devastating earhquake. UTAA reached out to him to help and make a difference for some these children in their lives and recovery effort. We don't have enough funds to help them all but we were able to help some of them:
1) Saniye, a widow, stayed under the rubbles in Kesecik Village with her 3 teenagers. Fortunately, the children were rescued but the mother lost her life. The children are now with their aunt in the village, who also lost her husband, and they are not eligible for any government wellfare. They needed immediate help for their needs. The following video shows her house she was buried under.
2) Again in Besni, Hasan (15) , Ibrahim (10) and Ikra (7) lost both their mother and father, and their youngest brother in the earthquake. Their father was a hardworking man but not been able to pay his social security contributions for many years. With the contributions from Utah, their social security debt will be paid so that children will be eligible for the government wellfare.
3) The brothers Hilmi and Ahmet and their parents have been living in Cilbogaz Village. They had a sheep barn under their home with 55 sheeps and goats - their main source of income. They lost both parents and all of their animals in the earthquake. They do not have any education beyond elementary school. They are not eligible for any government wellfare, but they are old enough and healthy to work if they can find a job but they needed immediate help for their needs.
Naz and Tayfun
Naz and Tayfun Şimşek was going to get married soon, put all their savings into renting a flat and buying furniture to start their lives together. On February 6th, as they were visiting family in some other city, their apartment building in Iskenderun has collapsed during the two major earthquakes.
Overnight, they lost everything they saved, the deposit they put to secure the apartment, the furniture and all the house items that haven’t been even used yet.
One of our members’ sister offered her apartment in Kirikkale to this couple to live rent free for a year until they find employment again and stand on their own feet. As UTAA we are blessed to able to help them with some of their immediate needs such as: oven, toaster, bulk food, and other items. We wish them a happy, successful and healthy long years together!
Karakas family in Adiyaman lost their homes during the earthquake.They couldn’t get a container from the city due to a high demand and have been struggling in the tent with their two disabled adult sons. One of their sons can’t walk and needs to be carried around. They’re an older couple, struggling to take care of two young adult men. Our local connections pointed them out to us, and as the UTAA board, we immediately decided to use all of our resources to get a container for this family. We’re happy to let you know that now, they live in their new container, thanks to our members and donors.
The Child Amputees of Turkiye Earthquake (Project CATE)
We donated a substantial amount to The Child Amputees of Turkiye Earthquake (Project CATE). The purpose of Project CATE is to help amputee children grow as functional adults and be part of society by building the infrastructure of social, psychological, and physical rehabilitation opportunities. This initiative will start by ensuring child amputees receive age-appropriate orthopedic aids such as orthoses and prostheses, physical therapy and psychological support in tandem with their long-term education.