Turkey’s death toll keeps climbing as rescuers pull more bodies from the rubble after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday.

The record-breaking earthquakes rocked Turkey and parts of Syria yesterday, collapsing buildings and burying people alive. The death toll is exceeding 3,500 at press time, with more than 10,000 injured.

Paul*, a friend of Trans World Radio, is on the ground with his team in Turkey.

"[The] most damaged city is Antioch; we had a radio station there," says Paul. "I will go with my wife to Antioch [to survey the situation.]"

Some of Paul’s teammates have family members in the quake zones.

"One of our workers, whose father lives in the affected area, said they saw some damage this morning. Now, everything around them is damaged or has fallen," says Priscilla*, one of Paul’s teammates.

"Unfortunately, the southeast is in a horrible state. There are ten major cities affected by this," she continues. "There are several believing (Christian) families under the rubble, and we’re still waiting [to find out] whether they’re going to make it or not."

According to the United Nations, the initial 7.8 magnitude quake hit at the height of winter. Gaziantep – an important UN aid hub for northern Syria – was among the affected cities:

Although the earthquake was felt as far away as Lebanon, closer to home, northern Syria’s Aleppo and Idlib also reportedly saw thousands of building collapse, including two hospitals. Humanitarian needs in northern Syria are already huge, as the region is home to millions of people displaced by the country’s long-running war. Snow and rain have hampered the work of rescue teams, whose families are also among those believed to be buried under collapsed buildings.

Earthquakes are common in this part of the Middle East, as the region sits atop several fault lines. However, Monday’s first quake is Turkey’s strongest since 1939, and the disaster is on pace to become the deadliest on record. Earthquakes of equally strong magnitude killed 18,000 people in 1999.

No matter what records this disaster sets, Paul and his team stand ready to help survivors. 

Believers are mobilizing aid in the name of Christ.

"We are buying some blankets, food, and clothes [to help quake survivors]. Please pray for us." 

Priscilla adds, "We want to do whatever we can to help people, and we are praying like crazy for our brothers and sisters in the area."

Ask the Lord to give Paul discernment and show him the survivors who need help for today and hope for tomorrow. Pray also that God would miraculously restore communication in Turkey.

"We don’t have [a] signal because of the (downed) electricity and other things," Paul says.


This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.