SHAWNEE, Kan. — Thousands of people have died after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey, and the tragedy is touching families across the world, including here in the Kansas City area.
One Shawnee family said their relatives remain trapped under tons of debris.
“We can’t hardly sleep,” Jessica Jenedi said. “We go in and out of sleeping and just worrying and constantly wanting updates.”
It’s been a miserable couple of days for Jenedi since she learned her in-laws in Turkey have been living out of a car following the devastating earthquake that destroyed their home and business.
Officials said Thursday that over 20,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria from the natural disaster.
Jenedi said her husband’s aunt, uncle and other extended family remain trapped under the rubble of their collapsed apartment building.
“The latest update we’ve gotten from my family is that there’s a rescue team from Mexico. I guess they deal with a lot of earthquakes so they’re trained,” Jenedi said.
“They have detected heartbeats under my relatives’ apartment. We don’t know if it’s them or another family, but they’re working on trying to get them out.”
She’s started a GoFundMe page to support them.
Meanwhile, volunteers at Heart to Heart International in Lenexa are assembling thousands of hygiene kits to send to earthquake victims in Turkey.
There’s concern that not enough Americans are aware of the scale of the tragedy the earthquake left behind. Some are predicting 100,000 could be pronounced dead eventually.
“Turkey needs almost everything right now, from flashlights to baby diapers to containers, generators,” said Banu Koken King with the Turkish American Association of Greater Kansas City. “I mean anything because basically the cities are leveled down.”
The Turkish American Association of Greater Kansas City has set up a link where people in the area can donate directly to Turkish relief agencies that are working around the clock to rescue victims.