A local medical mission already scheduled next month to Lebanon is taking on a new sense of urgency after a massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
“The spirit of America has always been very high in terms of when humanity faces such a situation,” Armenian Honorary Consul Berj Apkarian tells GV Wire. “We always in these kind of situations when it rises, humanity comes together. The civilized world comes together to to rise above and truly help humanity. This is a very tragic situation. And we pray for the communities out there and and for the loss of lives. So we hope God will give them the comfort in this difficult times.”
The mission is part of an annual trip organized by the Armenian consulate, March 24-April 5. Twenty medical professionals are scheduled to provide services, travelling to Beirut. The mission will also help train local medical professionals.
“We will plan as part of that mission as well, to increase our supply of equipment and medication and so that we could transfer in those additional supplies and the much needed assistance,” Apkarian said.
While the mission will not alter its itinerary, they “will do everything possible” to assist, Apkarian said. They will get as close as Anjar, which is near the Syrian border.
Monday’s magnitude 7.8 quake and a cascade of strong aftershocks cut a swath of destruction that stretched hundreds of miles across southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. The shaking toppled thousands of buildings and heaped more misery on a region shaped by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis. One temblor that followed the first registered at magnitude 7.5, powerful in its own right.
As of Tuesday morning, the death toll had climbed to more that 6,200 people.
Apkarian’s Family Okay
Apkarian’s mother and sister live in Aleppo, Syria, and are okay.
“They truly felt the shock. It was it was a miracle because the building next door to them collapsed. And there are many casualties over there. And I am keeping in communication with them to have a more up to date pulse of what’s going on in that region,” Apkarian said.
Apkarian said he is in the process of evacuating his family.
“It creates so many thoughts at that moment. So I immediately called in and subsequently I’ve been in touch with them and thank God for for them being unharmed at this moment,” Apkarian said.
Help With the Mission
Tax deductible donations can be made to:
2753 Quincy Avenue
Clovis, CA 93619
AP contributed to this story.