Dartmouth Health Children’s collects thousands of critically needed supplies for earthquake-stricken Turkey
LEBANON – Just over a week after a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the border region of Turkey and Syria, the death toll has risen over 36,000, hope for finding survivors in the rubble is running out, and many thousands more are homeless and without necessary supplies in winter conditions. In response to this natural disaster, Dartmouth Health Children’s Global Child Health Program consulted with the Turkish Consulate in Boston on how to help, and the Consulate reported what items they are in greatest need of. On Saturday, February 11, Dartmouth Health employees gathered at Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) to load a UHaul truck with donations, which were then transported via Turkish Airlines to aid agencies in Turkey.
“It’s just incredible that only 72 hours after the earthquake, a plan was made, 96 hours later a call for donations went out, and around 120 hours later, the donated items are on their way to Turkey,” said Amer Al-Nimr, MD, director of the Global Child Health Program. “I want to thank DHMC leadership for allowing us to mobilize quickly, use the parking lot and resources to get the job done efficiently. Having the hospital backing gave the relief effort legitimacy because everyone has a duty to make sure supplies actually get to those in need.”
In total, more than 3,000 articles of clothing, including winter coats, snow pants, boots, hats, mittens, gloves and scarves, were collected. Dozens of tents and sleeping bags were also donated. Dartmouth Health volunteers were also assisted by members of the SAU 70 Hanover, NH/Norwich, VT, school district in packaging and loading items. Turkish Airlines flight TK82 departed on Saturday night for Turkey with the donated supplies in tow.
“The outpouring of support and love from the community is overwhelming,” Al-Nimr said. “This was a team effort to get the word out between Dartmouth Health, the SAU 70 school district, and many supporters within the Upper Valley and beyond. While our relief effort is completed, the tragedy remains, and we encourage everyone to get involved. Hopefully, this will spur more advocacy efforts and outreach in the community. We will continue to explore options to help out and organize further efforts.”