ERCIS, Turkey (BP) — In eastern Turkey, hard-hit by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake Oct. 23, the living are still being pulled from the rubble — a two-week-old baby, a pregnant mother, a grandmother, according to BBC News.
Officials say the death toll is at 366, with at least 1,300 injured. The death toll continues to rise, but rescue teams are still finding people alive under mounds of concrete and steel with the help of dogs, as well as texts from trapped victims, according to the BBC.
“Thankfully it appears that the loss of life may not be as significant as originally feared, although it is still very early,” said Tim Graham*, a Christian worker in the region.
The earthquake dealt the hardest blow to Ercis, a city near the Iranian border, although surrounding cities also sustained damage. An estimated 380,000 people — mostly Kurds — live in the area, which is situated near a fault line. More than 100 aftershocks were recorded after the quake, according to the Associated Press.
“The number of buildings destroyed is relatively small, but many others are likely damaged and may be uninhabitable,” Graham said.
Survivors of the earthquake need aid fast, said Charlie Hawkins*, another Christian work in the region.
“People have died. Many others are suffering,” Hawkins said. “Southern Baptists are helping.”
Gifts through the Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon and other channels “allow us to respond to this earthquake and other disasters very quickly. Through your help, we are meeting immediate, real needs and showing the love of Christ,” Hawkins said.
“There will likely be ongoing needs in various locations,” Graham said. “Please pray for those involved in assessing these needs and determining how we can best serve the residents and show Christ’s love in tangible ways.”
*Names changed. Ava Thomas is a writer/editor for the International Mission Board based in Europe.