Distributing Relief Supplies at the Gaziantep Osmaniye Camp
Today is the day for distributing relief supplies at the Osmaniye Camp, located two hours southwest of Gaziantep, Turkiye, which was heavily affected by a destructive earthquake. We departed for the airport at 4:30am and took a flight at 7:35am, arriving in Gaziantep at around 9am.
At the Gaziantep Airport, we were greeted by Wahab, an activist from the Turkish organization Shafak, who is working alongside JTS in distributing relief supplies.
We exchanged warm greetings and after putting our luggage in our rooms, we immediately proceeded to the Osmaniye Camp with the representative from Shafak. While traveling, we talked with the representative from Shafak.
“Typically donors provide only goods and funds, so I’m truly grateful that you came here in person. Your visit has given us the willingness to overcome this challenge.”
Sunim said, “I felt very sorry when I heard the news about the earthquake’s devastation. I’m also glad that I can be of help, even if it’s just a little.”
We talked while traveling for two hours before arriving at the Osmaniye Camp. We took a group photo in front of the relief supplies and started distributing them at 12:30pm. The items included rice along with 14 other items, packed in a box and two bags, weighing over 40kg. It was too heavy to be lifted by one person.
At the Osmaniye Camp, we decided to provide food supplies to 500 households. We visited the homes where the relief supplies would be distributed, checked the lists, and handed out the items.
It was an extremely hot and dry day, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius. Despite this weather, the Turkish activists, who are devout Muslims, distributed the items without drinking any water, as it was the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, they have their pre-dawn meal at 4 AM and abstain from drinking water until after sunset. As the day grew hotter, the activists appeared increasingly exhausted. Seeing their fatigue, Sunim spoke to them.
“I can drink water, so I’ll take care of everything.” (laughter)
“Well, then please have some water first.”
“It’s alright. If I drink water, everyone will want to drink too.”
Sunim continued the distribution work without drinking water. When the earthquake survivors recognized that we were Koreans, they expressed their gratitude and greeted us with “Gamsahamnida.”
Three hours after the distribution began, the Mayor of Osmaniye Province visited the site. Sunim had a brief conversation with the mayor.
“Although Turkiye faces difficulties, we understand that the situation in Syria is even more challenging due to the lack of government support. Therefore, JTS intends to provide assistance to the Syrian region as well. We kindly ask for your support, Mayor.”
“Of course, thank you.”
After concluding the conversation with the mayor, Sunim and the volunteers continued the distribution work for another 30 minutes.
At 4:30pm, we finished the tasks and returned to our rooms after a one and half hours’ drive. We hurried back to accommodate the evening prayer time for Ramadan. Tomorrow, we plan to distribute relief supplies at the Watan Camp located near the Syrian border.