COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Central Ohioans with ties to Turkey and Syria want to make sure the community here doesn’t forget what is going on in that region.

The earthquakes which hit about two weeks ago have killed more than 44,000 people, and more are injured and without homes.

Doctors and others at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are trying to do their part to help.

Some of the team at the OSU Wexner Medical Center have loved ones who live in Turkey or Syria, and on Tuesday, they got together for a vigil and to also put out a call to action.

Sitting side by side, listening, praying, and honoring the lives lost over the past couple of weeks. In some way, these Wexner employees have connections to the region hit by the devastating earthquakes or want to help.

“Only two or three were standing after that strong earthquake,” Dr. Enver Ozer, a head and neck cancer surgeon at The James, said.

The village Ozer was born in in Turkey is just 15 miles from the epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the region on Feb. 6. He said most of the buildings there collapsed or suffered severe damage. His brother and parents are OK, but he said some of his cousins’ children did not survive.

“For these kind of earthquakes, I think in the first few days and few weeks, we see them and we feel the pain, but afterwards, unfortunately, it just settles down, but the problem there just persists,” Ozer said.

He wants to make sure the greater community continues to pay attention to the region, part of the reason Dr. Nabil Alzaeim organized Tuesday’s vigil at the hospital.

“People over there really are, like, scared to death because this earthquake was really bad 10 days ago,” Alzaeim said. “Now, there’s like some aftershocks and yesterday evening, they got another one.” 

Alzaeim shared the following list of organizations people can donate to if they want to help.

  • SAMS – Syrian American Medical Society
  • IRC – International Rescue Committee 
  • White Helmets
  • Doctors Without Borers
  • ICRC- International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

“We talk about numbers, every number, this is a soul, this is a human, they have stories and they have memories,” he said. “They have families behind.”