NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A devastating earthquake that spanned across two countries on Monday has claimed the lives of at least 7,700 people as of Tuesday night.

Search teams from nearly 30 different countries are looking for survivors in Turkey and Syria.
Officials from the World Health Organization said up to 23 million people could be affected.

The local Turkish community in Connecticut is taking donations to support those impacted by the earthquake.

Fatih Bahat’s friend Haroon is currently in the epicenter of the earthquake in Turkey. He told News 8 that help is needed immediately, as there are many people still underneath the rubble of the buildings that have been destroyed. 

What to know about the big quake that hit Turkey and Syria

“We need trained people in terms of search and rescue missions,” he said. 

The Diyanet Mosque on Middletown Avenue in New Haven is collecting blankets, shoes, clothes, food and money to send back to Turkey. This cause is close to Haydar Elevli’s heart. 

“This is all our family, [it’s a] bad situation over there right now, you feel bad,” Elevli said. 

American search and rescue teams will start work on Wednesday.

‘The chances are getting slimmer’: Turkish woman in Connecticut waits to hear fate of family after earthquake

“I know people there too some people I know they have families buried in concrete,” he said. 

Bahat told News 8 his friend still has family in Turkey and he’s hoping help gets there sooner before the death toll rises. 

“Two of his aunts actually right now are under the rubble waiting to be rescued,” Bahat said. 

The mosque is open till 9 p.m. most days for people interested in dropping off items. 

For those wishing to donate funds, the Diyanet Mosque is accepting funds via Venmo @diyanetmosque or 203-889–7899.