Salve Regina will hold vigil for victims in Turkey-Syria earthquake
The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey has devastated the region, and the death toll has passed 22,000 with 80,000 injuries so far.
There are multiple international students from Syria studying at Salve Regina, and it is with heartfelt sincerity that the University extends sympathies to the students, their families and the millions that are now suffering from this crisis.
The University is holding a Vigil for Earthquake Victims on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 5:30 p.m. in Our Lady of Mercy Chapel.
The vigil will be a multi-faith event with prayers embracing many different traditions. There will be an opportunity to gather in the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life following the vigil if people want to be together, ask questions of the Syrian students, or offer additional support.
No registration is required for the vigil, and it will be open to Salve Regina’s community, as well as the general public.
A Syrian student shares his story
One Syrian student who was willing to share his personal story was Allayth Saleh ’23, a double major in political science and chemistry. His family has been directly impacted by the earthquake.
“My father spent the last 40 years working … to save up enough money and buy a building complex of apartments in the … village of Jableh,” Saleh described. “He put all 11 of his younger siblings through medical school, law school and college. He bought apartments in this complex so that they will all be close to each other and live next to my 92-year-old grandmother from Naples, Italy …. More than 47 Salehs live in that one building in Jableh.”
During the earthquake, the entire building complex that his father had worked so hard to provide for his family was destroyed, according to Saleh.
“Thankfully, there was no loss of life, but there was significant loss of property,” Saleh said. “My family, while they have taken refuge with neighbors and friends and additional houses in … Damascus, have lost their primary homes as a result of an after quake that occurred.”
There are thousands under rubbles and tens of thousands who are homeless without food or shelter, according to Saleh. But that hasn’t stoppped the Syrian people from rising up and helping each other out.
“The entire Syrian people, regardless of political beliefs, are coming together to help one another, but it is extremely difficult,” Selah explained. “The lack of food, water, heat and electricity, as well as the extremely expensive prices of goods, is making life extremely difficult for the survivors.”
Ways to donate
Turkey and Syria can’t recover from a tragedy of this magnitude without international help — and due to current political issues, Syria is facing a much steeper battle to access funds and relief than its neighboring country. These issues include 12 years of crisis and conflict, crippling sanctions, and President Bashar al-Assad, who is widely viewed as a war criminal.
Omar Kaziz ’25, a double major in political science and business administration, has compiled some places to donate to victims of the earthquake.
Featured image by Getty Images/bestdesigns