Baylor responds with helping hand after earthquake strikes Syria, Turkey

A man stands in front of his house that was destroyed by the earthquake in Turkey. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

By Sydney Matthews | Staff Writer

As the death toll raised to over 39,000, Baylor swiftly responded to the massive earthquake in Syria and Turkey by publishing a response on the Baylor missions and public life website, which included organizations seeking donations geared to help those affected in the earthquake.

On Feb. 6, an earthquake struck Syria and Turkey that reached a 7.8 magnitude on initial impact and had aftershocks that reached a magnitude of 7.5.

Rescue teams have been working day and night to rescue people trapped in rubble because of the natural disaster. Organizations around the world have also jumped in to help by sending clothes, food and other supplies to those affected.

“I saw what had happened on the news and immediately wanted to find ways I could help. Even though Syria and Turkey are across the world, my heart goes out to those affected,” Folsom, Calif., sophomore Grace Cole said.

Baylor took a quick approach in responding to this tragedy. The university released in-depth information with ways students can help the impacted nations.

The missions and public life department said charities and organizations like Convoy of Hope, Doctors Without Borders and Water Mission have already assisted these nations and urged students to research other charities.

“We find value in calling people together, even if it is just a handful. Along with our mission efforts we always pray and read scripture. We did this yesterday afternoon in response to the earthquakes,” Dr. Burt Burleson, university chaplain and dean of spiritual life, said.

Burleson said he encourages students to help and inform themselves on international issues.

“We really want students at Baylor to have a wide worldview … we want the university community to be stepping toward the world’s needs,” Burleson said. “It is important for us to have a voice of wisdom and inform our students on ways they can help … we hope that Baylor students have an urgency to make the world a better place.”

The missions and public life website also shows ways to learn more information about earthquakes as it encourages education, preparation and prayer for the recent event.

“I think that Baylor has responded really well to the earthquakes,” Cole said. “They have shown empathy and have shown their support in ways that uphold the Christian mission of Baylor.”

Cole also said it is important for students to be educated on what is going on in the world and show support where students can. She said she plans on using the information that Baylor has released as a tool to donate to relief efforts.