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Operation Blessing in Turkey Providing What They Need Most Now: Humanitarian Relief

Randy Mancini 13 Feb 16

HATAY, TURKEY - Ten days after Turkey’s massive earthquakes, search and rescue operations are nearly over and the time of recovery has begun. On the ground, attention is turning to the need for humanitarian aid.  

Most international search and rescue teams have left the country leaving behind a record of amazing rescues, such as Israel’s United Hatzalah team, which pulled 15 people out of the rubble. 

So far, the death toll in Turkey and Syria is more than 40,000 and still growing, and collapsed buildings serve as a sobering reminder of the tragedy.  

The earthquake zone stretches for nearly three hundred miles indicating how massive an area the rebuilding program will encompass, including the lives of millions of earthquake victims.  

That’s why Operation Blessing (OB) is on the ground.  

“One of the immediate needs of the people affected by the earthquake is hot food like that distributed by this Operation Blessing team in this neighborhood in Hatay.  

“Praise the Lord, God gave this opportunity to Operation Blessing to bless them, to love them, to listen with them, cry with them and pray with them,” said Amir Javadzadeh, an Operation Blessing volunteer.

“You came. You found us. We thank all of you. God bless you. You gave us food. We are waiting for all of your support and help,” earthquake survivor Serap Demirci told CBN News.

The help includes clothes taken to these people living in tents as nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. And, also, the distribution of food boxes.  

“Thank you very much, Operation Blessing.  You are welcome. We feel appreciated. We want you to continue helping,” said another earthquake survivor Mojeb Haznedar.

For the adults, the earthquake is clearly life-changing. For children, many are afraid to go back into their homes even if the buildings are still standing. 

“You can see it even in their faces when they have time to think.  There’s fear,” said Carine Cochrane, another OB volunteer.

That’s why Cochrane stepped in.  

“I just ran in and organized some games. We were playing duck, duck, goose and playing tag, and dancing and running around,” Cochrane said.

“I was talking to a child trauma expert, and he was just saying to bring joyful memories in the midst of painful circumstances is really important.  I want to bring as many joyful memories as I can at this time.  Just a shift in what they are remembering and thinking,” she said.

“It’s such a gift.  Just to laugh with them.  To hear how they are doing.  To play games with them and to bring any joy that I can in so much tragedy and devastation,” she added.

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