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Donate what you can, say quake victims’ family

Victims of Turkey’s devastating earthquake have “lost everything”, say relatives who are collecting donations to send to the disaster zone.

More than 35,000 people are believed to have died in two quakes that struck in Turkey and Syria a week ago.

Melodie Aslan and her father Michael Denigin, from Dudley Wood, West Midlands, are encouraging people to donate whatever they can.

Community group Bearded Broz are taking aid items at their Smethwick depot.

Mrs Aslan, 27, said her husband Mert was originally from the Turkish city of Incirlik, the site of a United States Air Force base, but had relatives in Adana, on the outskirts of the quake zone.

They had been visiting family and had returned to the UK just five days before the earthquakes hit.

She and her 50-year-old father have gathered donations of toys, baby clothes, baby formula, dummies and blankets to take to Smethwick before being sent overseas.

“There’s children there without families, they’ve got no clothing, they’ve got no cover,” Mr Denigin said.

“We’re just encouraging everybody to do what they can, to send help.”

Mrs Aslan added of victims: “They’ve lost everything, they’ve literally got nothing, everything is just crushed in the buildings.

“So they need as much help as they can, that’s what we’ve been doing.”

She said her relatives were living in tents and were burning anything they could find to keep warm.

“It’s just awful there, there’s kids in the tents, it must be affecting them so badly, to be staying in the tents, nothing to do,” she explained.

“I know there’s a lot of kids that have died, have got no family now, so I do thank my lucky stars my family is okay, because there’s a lot that aren’t.”

Rescues are becoming rarer as the number of deaths increases. The final toll is likely to be much higher, with the United Nations warning it could “double or more”.

Imran Hameed, who runs Bearded Broz, said the group had been receiving “everything but the kitchen sink” in terms of donations and said it still needed used, clean and new clothing plus food.

Over a period of four days, the group had amassed about 150 tonnes of aid to send out, he said.

Mr Hameed explained that seeing orphan babies being rescued from the rubble caused him and his wife to cry “all night long”.

“You think ‘that’s a little kid, I’ve got a little kid’ – that could be your child, it could be anybody’s baby, and it is devastating.

“You lose a child, it’s going to break you so my heart went out to these people straight away.”

Source : BBC