Charlotte man working to help home country of Turkey after massive earthquake

CHARLOTTE — A 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria has left thousands dead and tens of thousands homeless, while rescuers are still looking for survivors.

Over 6,000 miles away, Emre Ergungor with the Charlotte chapter of the American Turkish Association is trying to help.

Ergungor moved from Turkey more than 20 years ago and still has many family members in the country.

“As soon as I saw 7.8, I knew it was bad,” Ergungor said.

Though Ergungor’s family is safe, he says his friends in Turkey have loved ones that are still trapped.

“The final toll will be unimaginable, it’s just pure grief,” he said.

Winter weather is hampering rescue efforts, which is leaving survivors to sleep on the streets in the cold, with rain and snow.

To help those in his home country, Ergungor is taking time off work to collect items such as blankets and coats to send to displaced

Samaritan’s Purse, which is based in Boone, is sending a response team to Turkey. The Red Cross of the Carolinas says it is on standby to help.

The earthquake is one of the strongest to hit the area in nearly a century.

Ergungor says he’s he committed to helping as many people as he can.

“It’s been hard and it’s gonna stay hard for a while, it’s going to take a long time to rebuild that area. But we’ll keep supporting them the best we can,” Ergungor said.

You can help the American Turkish Association by clicking here. The following are more organizations you can reach out to in order to help:

(WATCH BELOW: 2.1 magnitude earthquake shakes Blowing Rock, U.S. Geological Survey says)