(MNN) — Using heavy machinery and their bare hands, rescue workers scrambled
through piles of rubble to find survivors Monday after a deadly 7.2 magnitude
earthquake devastated parts of eastern Turkey.
area hardest hit was close to the Iranian border, but effects were also felt in
areas near the Iraqi border in the Kurdish region. Sunday's major quake struck at 1:41 p.m. local
time. Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network says,
"They're just beginning now to assess and to start the rescue operations.
They've been doing it by hand, up until now."
reports are widely varied. Numerous
aftershocks — the largest a magnitude 6.0 — rattled eastern Turkey, one of
the nation's poorest areas.
country is on one of the world's most active seismic zones and is riddled by
numerous fault lines. Istanbul, a city
of more than 12 million people, is near a major fault line. The combination of poor construction and
increasing seismic activity could be one that costs thousands their lives.
have been conflicting reports about the death toll. As rescue efforts continue, officials expect
the numbers to rise. As of Monday
morning, there were as many as 264 fatalities, and 1,300 injuries. 970 buildings also collapsed, some of them
apartment buildings. But there were a
few bright spots, says Rodeheaver. "In the city of Van, there is an
evangelical church wth about 125 people, and the church has not been
damaged." The military was assisting with search and rescue efforts.
director there is assessing the situation," Rodeheaver explains, adding, "We're making calls and connecting with
the various believers in churches. My guess would be that those folks will be
helping out in a very strategic way."
goes on to explain that emergency response is not new for their team. "In the past, we've actually helped
rebuild schools: we raised funds through the churches to rebuild
Islamic schools that were destroyed in the earthquake in the
It's winter now in Turkey. With thousands homeless, the government has set up 7,000 tents for
shelter. Temperatures dropped below
freezing Monday night. Tent
hospitals have been set up in Ercis, and two cargo planes from the capital have flown in, carrying medical teams and emergency supplies. Rodeheaver says, "Through the churches,
we would be buying supplies: blankets, food, those types of immediate
necessities that people who are devastated by these types of events
IN Network Turkey has been active in the region. As a result of careful planning and many years of
work, the Church in Turkey has released
a few of its members to become involved in a full-time ministry. It is
anticipated that this will result in a much-needed, faster growth of the Church.
is why Rodeheaver says: when disaster strikes, their team is ready. "We are called
to minister and to bear the burdens of people because I think that's part of
being a believer. Part of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being
there to heal wounds and to bring a cup of cold water."