We have all seen the devastating images arising from the catastrophic earthquakes affecting areas of Turkey and Syria. Early Monday, a 7.8 magnitude Earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing at least 11,600 (around half in Turkey and half in Syria), injuring at least 10,000 others (according to recent numbers), and causing significant damage and destruction. According to all reliable sources, those numbers are likely to rise significantly.
The Jewish community in Turkey has also been hard hit. The president of the Antakya community, Saul Cenudioglu, is feared dead along with his wife, Fortuna. The town’s synagogue was also partially destroyed. (See here for footage of the synagogue’s Torah scrolls being removed to safety).
As part of Operation Olive Branch, 150 Israeli rescue personnel have already arrived in Turkey to assist with disaster response. Israeli and Jewish aid organizations are on the ground in Turkey.
Among those organizations, our Jewish federation partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is providing first aid, tents, tent heaters, blankets, thermal clothing, and addressing immediate food needs. JDC is also meeting the urgent needs of Jewish community members affected in Turkey, in cooperation with the Turkish Jewish community.
We are deeply moved by this catastrophe and welcome support from across Canada for Jewish organizational efforts to save lives and provide necessities and comfort to those traumatized.
We are working with our partners to respond quickly and efficiently to support ongoing efforts. As always, we are ready to assist when disaster strikes.