Owner of Turkish restaurant in Yorkshire organises earthquake relief efforts as he fears for 'freezing' survivors
Ali Tekce, owner of Beverley’s Chamas, Mirage and Anatolia restaurants in Beverley, said he was working to get supplies including tents and body bags to the quake-stricken country. He added his fears were growing for people in the affected areas, including his home city of Sanliurfa in eastern Turkey, as freezing weather makes conditions for survivors worse.
It comes as at least 35,000 people are thought to have been killed by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck close to the Syrian border with Turkey on Monday, February 6. Local East Riding councillors and others in the area have since lent their support to relief efforts.
Mr Tekce, who woke up the following morning to several missed calls from family members before hearing the news, said he believed the number of victims could be far higher.
The restaurant owner said: “The worst thing about the earthquake is that it’s currently freezing cold there right now. the affected cities have a combined population of about 17m people. Some of the cities have had at least 65 per cent of their areas destroyed, towns have collapsed leaving people buried beneath the rubble, it was such a shock to all of us to hear about this.
“My brothers and cousins over there are on the ground helping the survivors, I’m getting updates every hour, they tell me it’s so bad that they don’t even have enough people to bury the dead. Yesterday morning I heard the news that 10 members of my family from my dad’s side have been found dead. Now we’re all trying to do the best we can to help fellow human beings there, people are really struggling and suffering.
“They need body warmers, tents and sleeping bags because so many have been left homeless like this. They’re even asking for body bags because there’s a shortage of those now. I’ve organised getting supplies to them by air freight, I’ve cleared space in Anatolia so people are welcome to leave things there. I’d also appeal to any local businesses who have spare space, because people have been so generous that we need more space now.
“I hope that no one would ever have to experience everything like this, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I’m so grateful to everyone who’s been very generous so far.”