Turkish Center offers support to families of earthquake victims - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Turkish Center offers support to families of earthquake victims

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Rescuers in Turkey are working around the clock searching for survivors after a massive earthquake rocked the country Sunday.

Some were miraculously found alive, but on Tuesday one Lubbock man learned his uncle was among the casualties.

"They found the body under the hotel because the hotel building has collapsed," said Texas Tech graduate student Murat Kurucay.

Kurucay says his family lives in another Turkish city, miles away from the earthquake. His uncle was called away to the city of Van the night before the disaster.

"He just went there for a business trip and without doing anything, he just died," Kurucay said, holding back tears.

About 200 Turkish Americans call the Hub City home. Many of them can be found at the Raindrop Turkish House in the Briercroft Office Park.

It's a center that offers education on Turkish culture and a meeting place for Turkish families.

Kurucay says it's the community support and the Raindrop Turkish House that's helping him and others through these times.

"It really touches your heart and you really need some support from your friends or family," he said.

Rescuers desperately scoured through crumbled buildings on Tuesday. They were watching and listening for any signs of life.

Miraculously a two-week-old infant was pulled from the rubble, along with the mother and grandmother.

The people hope and pray there are more survivors, but as hours pass and frigid temperatures settle in, responders are finding more bodies than survivors.

Kurucay's friend, Fehmi Bardak, says his sister-in-law was studying in a town near the devastation. She was lucky to escape.

"She ran out of the building of the dormitory and she saw the dormitory collapsing," Bardak said.

Bardak says teachers and students were trapped in a cafeteria on the bottom floor of the building. The catastrophe may cause the sister-in-law never to return.

"It was her last year. She was graduating this year and said I will not go back to that city. I do not care about my education," Bardak said.

The latest reports are that 400 people have died with the number expected to rise.

Friends at the Lubbock Raindrop Turkish House say they'll pray throughout the coming days.

"There are still lives coming out of the rubble," said Serkan Balyimez.

Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians Regional President Atilla Hafizoglu says they hope they hear more good news in the coming days.

He says the Lubbock Raindrop Turkish House has ways to donate. You can find out how to help by (CLICKING_HERE).

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.

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