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25 October 2011

Turkey earthquake

Turkey earthquake

Rescue teams' fears for those still trapped under earthquake rubble continue as Christian groups respond to the disaster in Turkey.

More than 400 people have been confirmed dead and some 1,300 injured from a quake that measured 7.2 in magnitude and hit the country at the weekend.

With the search effort continuing in earnest there are real concerns for the tens of thousands of people forced to spend nights outside in freezing conditions in the mountainous provincial capital Van in the east of the country.

The quake has damaged a large area of the town Ercis and more than 2,000 homes have been completely destroyed. The Red Crescent, part of the Red Cross, has confirmed that there are more than 40,000 people who have been made homeless by the disaster.

The Daily Mail reported that one teenager was rescued after spending 32 hours buried under rubble. The Guardian reported on searches frantically continuing as aftershocks continued to shake buildings.

Aid agency Christian Aid's partner ACT Alliance,  a coalition group of global aid responding churches, are supporting Alliance member Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) in its work with local group Support for life in Turkey.

Helping people in the Ercis area to assess the situation groups are already delivering food and water to people, but the need for shelter is now becoming apparent with the cold weather and more predicted in the next few days.

Hakki Erskoy, a disaster manager for the Turkish Red Crescent who is providing response in the area, said: "This is a very urgent situation. Right now, we are facing a race against time to provide shelter for people."

The government has said that it will provide another 12,000 tents to shelter people, according to the BBC.

Asian International,  a missionary organisation, has called for Christians to pray for those affected by the disaster and for the work that it is doing in its own plans to respond.

Director Ian Heringa said: "Please join us in praying for the government's rescue efforts, for more rescue vehicles and paramedics, doctors to get to Van quickly, for the weather -meteorologists are predicting snow, for those still trapped in the rubble that they may be found quickly, for the families of those who are missing. In their despair, may they turn to Jesus."