By Milan Perera, News Reporter
University of Bristol Arab Society and University of Bristol Egyptian Society (EGYSOC) organised a joint charity bake sale to raise funds for the victims of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The event took place on Thursday, February 23 and Friday, February 24 at the Senate House on Woodland Road.
The bake sale managed to raise £3625 in total. It served several Middle Eastern culinary classics such as falafel and regional sweetmeats. This joint fundraiser had enjoyed the collaboration of other sister SU societies such as the Islamic Society and the Turkish Society who volunteered in various capacities from setting up stalls to selling baked goods. According to the organisers the response from the university community has been 'overwhelming'.
On February 6, a powerful earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck Turkey and Syria at around 4 am local time. Millions of people have been severely affected. Aftershocks were felt throughout the day, including two further earthquakes of 6.5 and 7.5 magnitude. The search and recue operations went on for weeks in search of people trapped under the rubble. According to news reports at least 47,000 people are feared dead with several million people in both countries left displaced.
Even before both countries could recover from this unprecedented catastrophe another earthquake of 6.3 magnitude was felt in Hatay, southern Turkey on February 20. More people have been injured or killed, and more buildings have collapsed.
The organisers reiterated that all the money raised through the bake sale will reach the victims of the earthquakes directly.
There are huge concerns over the safety and well-being of children who have lost their homes, those who are sleeping rough in freezing temperatures, and those who have been separated from their families.
Speaking exclusively to Epigram, Kareem Elsabbagh from the EGYSOC pointed out that: ‘We are raising money to help the victims in Syria and Turkey from the recent earthquake. They need supplies, tents and many other things. We are trying to help them as much as we can. We have some contacts in Syria and the money will reach the victims directly.’
Speaking also to Epigram was the President of the University of Bristol Arab Society, Khalid Al-Roubaie who highlighted the importance of the fundraiser: 'We decided to get in contact with some volunteers in Syria directly as the current situation over there makes it difficult to deliver money through NGO's and charity organisations. We're making sure the money is being used to help people directly in need.'