Southern Alberta supporting Syria and Turkey earthquake victims – Lethbridge

It’s a tough time for members of the Lethbridge Muslim Association (LMA), which gathered Friday afternoon to offer support to those impacted by the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.

More than 23,000 deaths have been confirmed between the two countries and that number continues to grow.

The toll is being felt in southern Alberta.

“I called my sister. She went where my mom lived and she asked the people who worked there,” said Fevzi Hammami, who’s originally from Syria but lived in Turkey before coming to Canada six years ago.

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“The bad news they said is they can’t do anything (for her) because they think in that building all the people are dead.”

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Hammami’s family was in Turkey at the time of the earthquake. He said he’s lost up to 18 relatives, including his mother and brother, but information is difficult to confirm.

“I don’t have too many words to say right now,” Hammami said.

Click to play video: 'Turkey-Syria earthquake: Hope endures as rescuers pull survivors, including children, from the rubble'

Turkey-Syria earthquake: Hope endures as rescuers pull survivors, including children, from the rubble

“It’s very emotional,” said LMA Imam Zubair Sidyot. “At the same time, it’s a time for us as a community to come together and really support each other.”

Sidyot lead a special prayer on Friday.

The association is spearheading local fundraising efforts to provide relief.

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“We would like to help families who live in Lethbridge, who their families were affected and now lots of their family members are staying on the street,” said Nurah Eblesh, who’s helping collect donations.

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Donations can be made at the Lethbridge Islamic Centre or the association’s website. They will be forwarded to a Canadian humanitarian organization working on the ground in both countries to support rescue and recovery efforts.

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