by Andrea Small April 21, 2023Lions Respond to ‘Disaster of the Century’ With LCIF Support“Turkey is going through the most difficult days in its history,” says Past Council Chairperson Danyal Kubin, the disaster relief committee chairperson for MD 118 who is mobilizing Lions’ disaster relief efforts following the February 2023 earthquake and aftershocks that struck Turkey and Syria.Kubin is a structural engineer and seismic expert. He says this series of earthquakes is the largest seen in the region in more than a century and were felt for more than 350,000 square kilometers. Additionally, the earthquakes were very close to the surface, making the destruction even greater.To date, the disaster has killed more than 50,000 people, injured more than 120,000, and left millions of people displaced. Homes crumbled to the ground, hundreds of other buildings collapsed, and communities were changed forever.“Although our state and non-government associations do their best to support the earthquake zone with all their power, unfortunately, it is not enough to overcome all the problems caused by these earthquakes,” Kubin said.When a humanitarian disaster of this magnitude strikes, Lions are among the first to respond. And, empowered by Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) grant funds, they are already bringing a small bit of comfort to survivors of these devastating earthquakes.The first priority? Providing safety and shelter to people who currently have no place to call home.Immediately after the first earthquake struck, LCIF awarded a US$200,000 Major Catastrophe Grant to the Lions in Turkey. Lions are using these funds to develop the Adiyaman Lions Container Village. The 60 containers purchased with the grant are furnished and fitted with a kitchen and bathroom to provide temporary housing for displaced people while they await reconstruction in their communities.Lions in Sweden also are using an LCIF Matching Grant awarded in May 2022 to develop the Antakya Lions Tent Village. Within the village are 320 tents to temporarily house 1,050 people, more than 340 of them children. Local Lions and Leo volunteers regularly interact with the children, providing them with learning and socialization opportunities.Finally, through LCIF’s partnership with the MD 111 German Lions Foundation, funds are addressing the immediate survival, safety, and short-term housing needs of victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.These are just a few of the projects that are underway. Additional grants will be awarded as needs continue to grow.“The devastation that this earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks brought is heartbreaking, and those affected by this disaster will need support in recovering and rebuilding for many days, weeks, months, and even years ahead,” said LCIF Chairperson Douglas X. Alexander.“The response and support from Lions worldwide is inspiring and illustrates Lions’ unwavering humanitarian spirit during this unfathomable disaster. Lions live and serve in the communities most impacted, and we will be there to support the people there as long as they need us,” Alexander added. “LCIF grant funding helps us make an even bigger difference for people who’ve experienced so much loss during this unimaginable disaster.”LCIF grants are only possible with support from Lions across the globe, who immediately united to support those impacted by the earthquakes. In the weeks following the disaster, many Lions leaders, clubs and districts launched fundraising events in person and online to benefit LCIF’s Disaster Relief fund. Lions worldwide also continue to make individual donations to support the cause. These efforts will help ensure that Lions can provide help and hope in the region as long as it is needed.“We are talking about a disaster on a scale that no country in the world can be prepared for on its own,” Kubin said. “That’s why we need the support of the international community more than ever. Together we are always stronger.”To learn more about how Lions International is responding to this disaster and how Lions are an integral part of earthquake relief, visit lionsclubs.org/earthquakerelief.