Chicago, Ill. (February 6,2023) — A historic 7.8 earthquake hit southern Türkiye early Monday morning. The death toll, already in the thousands, is expected to continue to rise in the subsequent days with aftershocks causing over 3,000 buildings and infrastructure to crumble — and continue crumbling. Amid the chaos, Zakat Foundation of America is mobilizing to help both the victims of the earthquake as well as Syrian refugees who have settled in the region.
This particular region is dear to the Foundation’s heart as the Founder and Executive Director, Halil Demir, is a native to Sanliufa and still has family in the area. Upon hearing of the earthquake, Mr. Demir immediately began phoning friends and family members for details. Mr. Demir reported from field representatives that fear was rampant of aftershocks and staff had to take shelter in their cars. Mr. Demir himself is due to travel to the ZFA office in Türkiye later today, believing in the importance of being physically present in the field and rolling up his sleeves to do the work. While loss has also struck its own, with a staff member losing family members in the disaster, Zakat Foundation of America is determined to provide aid and assistance to those affected.
Zakat Foundation of America has an office on the ground located in Gaziantep that has been established and working in the country for the last 15 years. Though the office itself has been damaged, the staff remain dedicated to providing aid and assistance in this time of crisis. Zakat Foundation of America is leveraging strategic partnerships to maximize efforts including AFADA, FEMA of Türkiye and Red Crescent of Türkiye, alongside its own personnel.
Zakat Foundation of America will distribute emergency recovery kits, hygiene kits, warm food and blankets. With the cold winter weather, many of those displaced from the earthquake or those Syrian refugees in temporary shelter are suffering a secondary crisis of being outside in frigid temperatures. With a 15-year history of established relationships, partnerships and humanitarian work in the area, Zakat Foundation of America remains steadfast in its commitment to the people of Türkiye and refugees of Syria.
Donors can contribute to the emergency fundraising campaign at www.zakat.org/donate by selecting “Türkiye Earthquake.” These donations will be distributed as aid 100% to those in need in the country. Zakat Foundation of America does not take any overhead costs from donations to its emergency relief programs. Donors of all types across the United States are encouraged to give alongside Muslim Americans who are fulfilling their zakat obligations. The third pillar of Islam, zakat is an obligatory claim on the wealth of the affluent to empower the indigent.
Mr. Halil Demir, Executive Director, is available for live interviews, comments and quotes by emailing requests to [email protected]. As this is an evolving situation, ZFA will update its website and social media with additional information as it becomes available. 1-888-ZAKAT-US.
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In 2022, 91¢ from each dollar donated went directly toward programs serving those in need. 4¢ went to administrative costs & 5¢ went to fundraising costs.