Turkey Syria earthquake: Support pours in for Scott Hall Leisure Centre swiming teacher who 'lost everything'
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Erkan, who now lives and works in Leeds as a swim teacher and lifeguard, was visiting family in his hometown of Hatay when on February 6, a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern and central Turkey, as well as northern and western Syria.
With the death toll having now passed 40,000 the earthquake is the deadliest to hit Turkey since the Cilicia quake of 1268.
Colleagues and friends at Scott Hall Leisure Centre in Chapeltown, where Erkan works, are now banding together in a bid to help after he and his family “lost everything”.
Speaking to the YEP, organiser James Geldard, said: “He’s gone home to Turkey to visit family and that’s when the earthquake’s hit and he was in Hatay which I believe has been the epi-centre of the earthquake.
"We started getting messages filtering through that Erkan had been affected – he’s lost his house, family home, all his possessions, everything basically so obviously as he’s a close friend we at Scott Hall wanted to help.”
James said that Erkan has now been forced into living out of a makeshift tent in a field with no electricity or running water and staff at Scott Hall have now set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of getting money over to help.
The fundraiser, which went live on Monday, has now surpassed its original £500 goal having already hit £2,700. James described Erkan as a popular member of the centre’s team, with many visitors keen to help.
He said: “He’s an absolutely cracking guy. He’s the type of guy who if you phoned him at 10pm and said ‘I need help moving at 8am’ then he would be there at five to eight ready to go.
"He would do anything for anyone and that’s why it’s hit us so much but also the fact so many customers are asking after him and passing on well wishes says a lot as well. He’s just a genuinely nice guy.”
Any money raised will be used to help Erkan and his family get at least the basic necessities to survive during this interim period.