Turkish students at Michigan State University raise funds for earthquake relief

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 7:02 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As the death toll continues to climb in Turkey and Syria, members of the Michigan State University Turkish Student Association (TSA) are raising funds to provide relief for earthquake victims.

Related: Turkish business owners in Lansing raise awareness for devastating earthquake

Turkish student Ata Algan said he and his peers were in shock when they first heard word of the quake, and still are. Algan said the number of deaths has well surpassed 9,000 people in Turkey alone. Homes, businesses, schools and hospitals have been dismantled by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, and Algan said the people of Turkey will need as much assistance as they can get to try and repair the damage done.

“It is a big area that got affected by the incidents, the earthquakes,” he said. “They will need long-term solutions. Schools, hospitals, houses, anything that is a humanitarian need, will need to be provided in the long term.”

Though they’re thousands of miles away on MSU’s campus, Algan said he and the TSA want to do everything they can to help their loved ones overseas. They’ve set a goal of $25,000, which, along with basic necessities like food, shelter and water, will be used to provide medical assistance for earthquake victims. However, Algan said any amount of money they can collect will go far.

“With the exchange rate, one U.S. dollar equals to around 18 Turkish Liras, and with five dollars - with just five dollars - you can provide three meals,” he said. “I would like to emphasize again how important each donation is, independent of the amount.”

While Algan has confirmed his family is safe, he has many friends whose relatives lost their lives in the earthquake. He said the TSA has allowed him to find a support system in his community, and to do the same for his classmates.

The TSA has raised about $1,000 so far, but Algan said they’re spreading the word on social media to encourage Lansing students and residents to donate. All funds collected by the TSA will be directed to a Turkish-based donation organization.

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