Almost 20,000 people have now been reported dead following the massive earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, and the death toll continues to rise. According to The Hill, rescue workers are still saving people from the rubble, but hope of finding many more still alive drops with each passing day.
SAT-7, a Christian satellite network in the Middle East, is no stranger to people where the brunt of the earthquake struck. Rex Rogers, who heads the operation, reports that their staff in Istanbul are safe, but affected.
"They are themselves wrestling with the feelings of helplessness and anger and loneliness and fear, even interestingly experiencing what they call shame, a kind of survivor's guilt for enjoying their coffee or being able to walk home with a coat on when they realize there are people just how many miles away suffering like this," Rogers relays.
SAT-7 continues to reach people in Syria and Turkey with programs of spiritual encouragement in the midst of trauma and despair.
"We have one called 'Homemade,' for example, on the Turkish channel that immediately you can address the circumstances, you can begin to share teaching, you can begin to respond to people," he details. "Viewers call in with questions, their anxieties, their fears, their anger, or their desire for prayer."
In addition to praying for the victims of the earthquake, Rogers is calling for prayer for refugees in Syria who already had nothing, "and now they have less than nothing." International relief efforts have been engaged there for years amid the humanitarian crisis resulting from the more than decade-long civil war in the country. Much of the region in northern Syria is controlled by rebel groups, while Damascus is controlled by government forces.
Rogers says it was already difficult to deliver physical relief because of the tensions.
Shortly after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. asked Samaritan's Purse for help. Edward Graham, son of founder Franklin Graham, tells AFN the ministry responded immediately by offering to ship a hospital.
"This will be about a 52-patient bed hospital [with] a pretty significant surgical capability," he details.
More than 65,000 injuries have been reported, with the majority of deaths and injuries happening in Turkey. So with "a lot of crushed injuries" and broken bones expected, Graham says orthopedic surgeons are likely the biggest physical need. Still, the hospital's medical personnel will also treat everyday issues.
"You still have heart attacks; you still have appendicitis," he notes. "We have to help with the everyday surgical needs and medical needs but also what we're going to see with the trauma of the earthquake."
The hospital must be self-sustaining, which means Samaritan's Purse will provide its own supplies and personnel beyond the medical staff.
"It's a robust need," Graham asserts. "It's not just doctors and nurses that deploy. It's our electricians, it's our logisticians, [and] it's great people that the Lord calls to serve and love their neighbor during a time of crisis."
When the time comes, Samaritan's Purse will begin flying additional supplies to the area as the survivors continue to rise from the rubble and restore their neighborhoods.