News Release

Latter-day Saint’s earthquake relief efforts in Türkiye recognised

On Tuesday, 3 October 2023, in Istanbul, Elder Peter and Sister Carla Huber were honoured on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their contributions to the earthquake relief efforts in Türkiye.  Recognised in an award ceremony by the organisation “Health Volunteers” in Türkiye, they were presented an award for their “Extraordinary Efforts to Heal the Wounds of the Earthquake” in Southeastern Türkiye.

In the early morning of 6 February 2023, two massive earthquakes struck Türkiye and Syria.  Widespread damage covered an area the size of Germany. 16% of the population in Türkiye were affected, many left homeless, without food, shelter, or medical care.

At the time, Elder and Sister Huber were serving as full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Area office in Frankfurt, assigned to train people to be prepared for emergencies and help coordinate the Church’s relief efforts in the Europe Central Area. Elder Huber had been involved in emergency response work for many years in his native Switzerland. He was prepared to immediately step into the crisis in Türkiye and know how to help.

Working in collaboration with the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Health and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Elder Huber was moved when he learned that a company named Turmaks manufactured and had donated two field hospitals and he reached out to the company.  Area Seventy, Paul Picard, who attended the ceremony, said, “this is the start of a wonderful cooperation with dedicated and kind professionals sincerely engaged to help their fellow citizens.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Turmaks worked together to build and install five mobile field hospitals and 50 housing containers for 100 physicians and nurses who had nowhere to live. Funding for these mobile units was made possible by the kind and generous donations of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Türkiye and throughout the world. Also donated were more than 500,000 food and hygiene boxes and five million bottles of water.

In one city that once had a population of 60,000, the hospital was completely damaged, but some homes remained. Today, 250,000 people have moved into this city, but there was no place to receive needed medical care. The container and tent hospital now receives 1,500 patients daily. 

Elder and Sister Huber expressed gratitude for all the partners who collaborated to make this aid possible. “We were very happy to be here and to help a little bit.” Now they are looking to the future to find ways to help rebuild important infrastructures. “Looking at the whole thing, makes you feel paralysed,” said Elder Huber. “But I have learned that if we each day do our best, we can leave to the Lord to do the rest.”

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