By Aysu Bicer and Behlul Cetinkaya
LONDON (AA) - The Turkish community across the UK came together to support people affected by powerful quakes that hit southern Türkiye, collecting 10 tons of aid materials in one day to send to the country.
A total of 35 Turkish associations in the UK on Monday collected aid materials and winter supplies for the people affected by the deadly earthquakes that hit the country.
"We are proud of our community that collected donations and aid within five or six hours," said Umit Yalcin, Türkiye's ambassador to London.
“Everyone was struggling to help here, and this was a morale booster in such difficult days," he added.
He also said Turkish Airlines will carry the collected aid free of charge. "We do not want any of our people to feel forsaken. This aid provides morale and support."
He also thanked the UK for sending immediate support for Türkiye, including a team of 76 search and rescue specialists, equipment, and rescue dogs.
Erdal Yetimova, the UK head of the Union of International Democrats, which organized the aid, said: "In the first stage, a total of 10 tons will be delivered to Türkiye by a Turkish Airlines plane. Then the aid collected from Luton, Leicester, Swindon and Bristol will be sent to the country by the end of the week."
At least 3,419 people were killed and 20,534 others injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye after two strong earthquakes on Monday jolted the southern part of the country, according to official figures.
Early Monday, a 7.7 magnitude tremor struck the Kahramanmaras province, then about nine hours later, a 7.6 quake also rocked the region, affecting several other provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.