Chinese volunteers extend helping hand to quake-hit Turkey

Guo Guoying, 31, has devoted herself to earthquake relief in Turkey over the past few days.

Guo Guoying, 31, has devoted herself to earthquake relief in Turkey over the past few days.

Guo, head of a language training center in Anshun City, southwest China's Guizhou Province, has a wealth of experience working abroad and has many international friends.

Turkey was hit hard by powerful earthquakes on February 6, resulting in heavy casualties. After the earthquakes, China dispatched multiple search and rescue teams to provide humanitarian aid to earthquake-stricken areas in Turkey.

The day after the two earthquakes happened, Guo received a request from a friend who joined the rescue effort in Turkey and asked whether she knew any Chinese people there who could provide support in communication.

"I'm engaged in language training and have some overseas friends. I'm eager to do what I can to help people in need," said Guo, who soon created a WeChat group and invited volunteers who could help bridge the language gap.

Over 100 volunteers with different linguistic backgrounds, such as Chinese, English and Turkish, joined the group and participated in the relief effort.

For each volunteer recruited, Guo registers their name, nationality, language, residence and the amount of time they can spend with the teams.

Panda Rush, a volunteer from southwest China's Sichuan Province who declined to give his real name, has previously experienced two earthquakes. He helped Guo collect the information of newcomers to the group.

The volunteer said that although he was poor in Turkish and was unable to help with interpretation, he still wanted to join the group and do what he could.

Guo was pleasantly surprised to know Zhang Huiying, who lent a helping hand in Turkey. The two worked together to bridge the communication gap between Chinese search and rescue teams and those in need.

Guo takes charge of recruiting volunteers and arranges them according to the needs of the search and rescue teams. Meanwhile, Zhang coordinates volunteers to help the teams get to the affected areas, apply for local mobile phone cards and informs them of the latest developments regarding the earthquakes.

Due to the time difference between China and Turkey, the two take turns staying awake to make sure that any questions asked on WeChat are promptly answered.

"A minute can help save a life," said Guo.

On February 9, the first batch of 16 volunteers from the group set out to assist the Chinese teams for rescue. Twelve of them are from Turkey, and the other four are Chinese international students.

In addition to coordinating with the teams, Zhang was also involved in first-line rescue. In the southern province of Hatay, she traveled to the countryside with the search and rescue teams to distribute clothes, food and other supplies, and she even donated blood.

At present, some Chinese search and rescue teams have completed their mission in Turkey, and the volunteers are now assisting with the allocation of relief supplies.

Guo said that she is now trying to provide help in the form of psychological counseling for the volunteers, and will keep in touch with them.

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