Med student provides post-quake relief in Turkey

Almasnaah spent spring break helping refugees

| Author: Eric Baerren | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

A man hands out supplies to earthquake victims.
Aiman Almasnaah, a first year medical student, hands out supplies to earthquake victims in Turkey in March.

For a week in March, Aiman Almasnaah did what he hopes to spend the rest of his life doing - helping people in need.

The first-year Central Michigan University medical school student traveled to Turkey during spring break where he helped distribute disaster relief packages and medical kits to survivors of the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6.

It’s something he said he’d always wanted to do. Almasnaah plans to do it again after graduation, utilizing skills he’ll develop in medical school.

“A skill you can pick up here can make a huge difference there,” said Almasnaah, who moved to the United States from Yemen when he was 7.

Volunteers from around the world in Turkey made a huge difference in people’s lives, he said. The people who lived in the region where he assisted were grateful for their help. Almansnaah said he continued to get messages of thanks from them after he returned.

“That, for me, was so heartwarming,” he said.

Seeing the damage was hard for him, he said. He met one family that lost 10 people.

One of Almasnaah’s biggest takeaways was realizing that the region’s recovery could take decades. It wasn’t just something that ended quickly, he said.

While there, he heard that conditions in Syria were even worse, complicated by the long civil war fought there.

Almasnaah was inspired to help after finding a flyer for Mercy Relief. He said he hopes others find the inspiration to volunteer somewhere as well.

“People do need help,” he said. “Who’s going to do it?”
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