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'It is heartbreaking': Maritime Syrian and Turkish communities react to earthquake and devastation

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Thousands are dead and tens of thousands injured following the earthquake that has devastated Syria and Turkey.

“They are living in the street, laying down," said Omar Antebi, a Syrian Canadian. "There are no tents and there is nothing.”

Antebi left Syria ten years ago. Family members stayed behind.

“Four uncles and their wives and their children and my grandma and grandpa," said Antebi.

Antebi said, the cruel irony is, many fled the war in Syria to live safely in Turkey.

“They are escaping people’s bombing, and now they are experiencing God’s disaster.”

Rafat Harb, owner of the Syriana Market in Halifax, has spent many hours watching the horrifying images on TV.

“We have family there, it was not easy,” said Harb. “It is very hard when we see all the buildings come down and there is a lot of children under the building, and they couldn’t find them."

Ilker Dalgic volunteers with the Turkish Society of Nova Scotia and has experience when it comes to surviving earthquakes.

“Once I saw the magnitude as 7.8 I understood how it could be devastating and terrible because 24 years ago I also experienced one at 7.4 magnitude," said Dalgic. “It is heartbreaking.”

The scope of this tragedy has hit home with the entire Turkish community, including the owners of the Turkish restaurant Efes who are donating $2 per order for one full week to assist with earthquake aid.

“All of us knows someone who lost relatives. I have a friend who lost his in-laws," said Dalgic.

The Turkish society wants the government of Canada to act quickly and provide money, manpower and resources to aid those devastated by the earthquakes.

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