Penn will host a support "check-in" event for community members impacted by recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Feb. 10.
The event will be held from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Perry World House, Penn's foreign policy think tank. It follows a pair of earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Feb. 6, killing over 20,000 people. The gathering at PWH will provide members of the Penn community the chance to "come together in solidarity" and become acquainted with University resources to aid those impacted by the earthquake.
The event is being coordinated by numerous groups at Penn, including Penn Global, International Scholar and Student Services, Penn Wellness, University Life, Penn First Plus, Division of Public Safety, College House and Academic Services, the Graduate Student Center, and Student Registration and Financial Services.
Since the two earthquakes — registering at magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.5 — struck the Middle East, there has been an international outpouring of support, including at Penn. On Feb. 7, Penn Arab Student Society, Fenjan: The Middle East Journal, Penn Muslim Students Association, Penn Afghan Students Association, and Penn Students Against the Occupation announced that they were gathering donations that would go toward relief efforts "on the ground" in Turkey and Syria.
AKUT, a search and rescue association in Turkey, and Syrian American Medical Society are the recipients of the donations contributed through the Penn students' fundraising efforts.
"Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria yesterday," the message from the student groups wrote. "The people of Turkey and Syria now desperately need our help."
The earthquakes already rank among the deadliest of the 21st century. Trudy Rubin, a visiting fellow at PWH, wrote in a column in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Feb. 8 that the earthquake comes at a difficult time for the areas impacted. She said that much of the most-devastated region in Turkey is home to ethnic Kurds, who have been "repressed" by the Turkish government.
"Across the border in Syria, the brutal Assad is directly responsible not only for much of the current Syrian death toll but also for the inability of international rescue teams to access the quake zone," Rubin wrote.
The Penn Middle East Center is also hosting a solidarity and strategy meeting on Friday at 5 p.m. in ARCH, with the goal of "supporting staff, students, and faculty impacted by earthquakes in Turkey and Syria."