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Turkish locals issue urgent plea for help

For years Gizem Ergisi has managed the Bouverie Road branch of Safedale Pharmacy.

Now she’s appealing to the Stoke Newington community for help after 10 members of her family lost their homes in the devastating earthquake in Turkey. At the time of publication, the earthquake had killed more than 11,000 people.

Gizem has launched a Go Fund Me page in a bid to get her family out the cold and to a place of safety away from potential aftershocks.

She said: “My family who live in the epicentre Elbistan, which was hit for a second time by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, needs immediate help. 10 of my family members have lost their homes and were unable to retrieve anything.

“My family members including children and a disabled mother are currently strained and sheltered outside where temperatures drop as low as -14 at night.

“The goal of this fundraiser is to get them to safety as soon as possible so they can survive the destruction of the earthquake and that they are not helpless in the harsh winter conditions. There isn’t much help from Turkish government currently and international efforts are not enough for the severity of this disaster.”

The local community has been quick to respond, with the fundraiser.

Heidi Early, Chair of Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “Gizem and her team worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to keep the pharmacy going and ensure the public could access vital medicines. She even extended their opening hours to help. The devastation in Turkey and in Syria is heartbreaking and, in the wake of such a disaster, it’s natural to feel powerless. But here is someone in our community directly impacted who we can help.

To support Gizem’s appeal, visit

The team at 215 Hackney (Cemal Polat Ali Kalkan and Mehmet Cetin) are also running a Go Fund Me appeal to support earthquake rescue efforts.

Cemal said: “My business partners and I were born in Eastern Turkey and are currently watching the news and the impacts of the earthquake in despair. Many lives have been lost and many more are still under the rubble. The rescue efforts are on the ground and tirelessly trying to save lives but we must also focus on the rebuilding efforts and protecting the people who cannot enter their properties.

Our efforts and funds raised from this campaign will be donated to purchase items such as tinned food, nappies, wet wipes, female hygiene products, boots, tents and whatever we are told the area requires from sources in the area. The weather is currently extremely cold and experts are expecting more tremors and possible earthquakes at the magnitude of 7-8.”

To support Cemal's appeal visit:

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney added: “Hackney is home to one of the largest Turkish and Kurdish populations in the country, we have also more recently welcomed refugees from Syria; and we know many of them will be anxious for family and friends in the region, and devastated by the impact of the disaster. We stand with you - and think of all those grieving at this terrible time. We would also like to encourage you to reach out if you need any additional support from the Council in helping your communities come to terms with this devastating event.”

Joyce Café in Stokey Newington is also sharing this Just Giving page for the crisis.

International appeals for the disaster include The British Red Cross and the Turkish Red Crescent.


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