earthquake relief effort gains support

earthquake relief effort gains support

A humanitarian effort to help those devastated by a massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria a week ago has garnered a lot of support, says a local Muslim association spokesperson.

Starting on Friday and continuing through the weekend, donations were collected at the Islamic Centre, 200 Greenwich St. Donations were accepted until 9 pm Monday.

“We raised about $10,000 so far,” Anwar Dost, vice-president of the Muslim Association of Brantford, said in an interview earlier Monday.

“And people have been coming by to donate coats, medical supplies, feminine hygiene and personal hygiene products.”

Dost said the association is developing plans to accept more donations.

“Right now we’re issuing an appeal for blankets,” he said. “It’s winter there, it’s really cold and there is a huge need for blankets and winter clothing.”

Donated items must be new because those involved with the humanitarian effort lack the capacity to clean items.

Dost noted that a volunteer-run group based in Stratford, Ont., called the Stratford Mission Depot, is providing $20,000 worth of medical supplies to the local effort.

“We’re arranging to pick them up this week sometime.”

Dost, who contributed more than $50,000 worth of medical supplies to the relief effort, said he is grateful for the support of the Stratford group

Founded and led by Jean Aitcheson, the mission depot has been collecting medical supplies to ship to areas in need around the world for 28 years.

“The shipment that we’ll be donating was destined for Ukraine,” said Aitcheson, who in December was named to the Order of Canada for her humanitarian work. “But the two organizations that normally would be sending them there, weren’t able to take them.

“We were looking for another organization to take them and found Anwar.”

Aitcheson said her group has all manner of medical supplies available, including gauze for wound management, canes, crutches, wheelchairs and walkers, respiratory equipment and catheters.

“We’re pleased to be able to work with Anwar and help the people of Turkey and Syria.”

Monetary donations can be mailed to the Brantford mosque, 192 Greenwich St., Brantford, N3S 2X6. Checks should be made out to the Muslim Association of Brantford and marked Turkey-Syria relief effort.

The association is hoping to raise $100,000 locally to support the efforts of INCA Relief Canada. ICNA, or Islamic Circle of North America, is a registered Canadian charity that provides humanitarian aid to victims of natural disasters. ICNA has already contributed $350,000.

The devastating quake, followed by a series of tremors that struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, reduced much of the towns and cities inhabited by millions to fragments of concrete and twisted metal. More than 35,000 people were killed, a toll expected to rise considerably as search teams find more bodies.

With files from Postmedia wire service

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