LEFT feeling helpless after watching the horrific images of devastation in the aftermath of the earthquake in Turkey, the owners of Enniskillen Turkish Barbers took matters into their own hands and organised an appeal for aid.
Murat Kalbisen, who is a Turkish national and co-owner of the popular barber shop in Enniskillen’s town centre, left late last Saturday night with two friends for the decimated region to bring over some much-needed essentials for babies.
Mr Kalbisen, 36, and his friends will make the journey by van and car with baby supplies such as nappies, creams, medicines and milk formula. They will travel from Enniskillen to Dublin, from there they will get a boat to Holyhead, and then drive on to France and across Europe.
“It’ll take us 36-48 hours to get there. We will be filling a van and a car with a roof rack full of baby supplies. The nearest city we can get to [nearest the quake’s epicentre] is Adana,” Mr Kalbisen said.
“My family live 400 kilometres away from where it happened in Gaziantep, but my nephew Mohammad is at university there. He is safe and is now working with the rescue service in the area. Everyone is doing their best to help.
“We are just trying to do the same. We want to do whatever we can to help. It’s a terrible catastrophe.
“Local people here gave us a lot in a short period. I would like to thank everyone for their help.”
Last Monday’s quake wreaked havoc hundreds of kilometres from its epicentre in Gaziantep, south-eastern Turkey, with dozens of aftershocks, as well as a second strong quake 60 miles away that hit in the early afternoon.
Rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria are still working to pull more survivors from the rubble after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 37,000 people and toppled thousands of buildings across a wide region. Numbers are expected to rise because of those still trapped in the rubble.
Mr Kalbisen has been working in Enniskillen for seven years, but his main aim now is to support those suffering in his country.
“My people don’t need money, all the shops are destroyed. They need supplies. Everything is destroyed, so they need basic things. The kids need our help most of all,” he said.
“If they need us to stay and help, we will. We will do whatever it takes to help.”
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