NSights Blog

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: a reminder that when tragedy occurs, the world can help

University alumna, Gunes Kaplan, reminds community Turkish Americans in Northern Nevada need our support now more than ever

“Be united with us so we can stand in these difficult times, because otherwise we might fall”

The strongest and deadliest earthquake of this century hit the south-eastern region of Turkey with a magnitude of 7.8. It is affecting an area already confronting harsh winter weather. It struck when people were in bed. As if it wasn’t enough, just couple of hours later, the region was hit by a tremor of magnitude 7.5. The death toll from this devastating earthquake has been rising every hour and is expected to rise significantly due to the presence of hundreds of families under the rubble. Thousands of buildings collapsed, and at least 33,000 people have died at the time this article was written and tens of thousands of people are still under the rubble of collapsed buildings. The Turkish American community of the Northern Nevada, who have been glued to the television to get updates on devastation left behind by the earthquake, have friends and families in those regions. The Turkish Americans of the Northern Nevada need your support more than ever.

The Turkish American population in Northern Nevada is relatively small compared to the thousands of Asians and Hispanics but it is a noticeable one. Nearly all of them came here for the same reasons as their fellow immigrants: to better their education and their lives. Majority of them have ties to the University of Nevada, Reno because UNR was what led their paths crossed in Northern Nevada.

Right in the heart of the golden west, beautiful Nevada means home to them for decades, but who are they and what do they do?

They are your child’s teachers in the public education system. They’ve dedicated themselves to your child’s education working towards maintaining success and avoiding failure.

They teach and train your kids in the higher education, too. They serve in the academic and administrative faculty roles at UNR. Their research and everyday work contribute to the development and advancement of knowledge in Nevada and United States. They are a part of the Wolf Pack Family and support the Pack every day every way.

They are proud public servants serving in different branches of the state offices of this wonderful state of Nevada. They are sworn law enforcement officers risking their lives every day to protect the citizens of Nevada.

They provide workforce to thousands of people in the defense industry delivering the state of the of art solutions to the world’s toughest challenges. They are engineers who support the growth and development of Nevada’s economy and work towards changing the world we live in by building cars, homes, bridges, safety equipment, turbines, pumps, advanced vehicle systems and many more.

They are students, parents, grandparents, your neighbors, hard workers, model immigrants, citizens of this wonderful state and beautiful country.

Turkey is the world’s biggest refugee host country with approximately 4 million Syrian refugees most of whom live in that region. In happier times, Turkish Americans in Northern Nevada foster the interactions between communities by organizing, promoting and participating in cultural events organized by the Turkish Cultural Association of the University of Nevada, Reno.

I invite our Wolf Pack Family and Northern Nevada Communities to be united with us so we can stand in these difficult times because otherwise we might fall.

Note: If you are willing to contribute to the search, rescue and relief efforts, you can do so through the Turkish Cultural Association’s account under Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF) – a U.S. based 501c non-profit organization.

Gunes Kaplan is a University of Nevada, Reno graduate, earning a master’s degree in physics in 2005 and a Ph.D. in physics in 2017. Kaplan is an education programs supervisor – accountability for the Nevada Department of Education.

Gunes Kaplan poses with Mackay Science building behind her.
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