North Texas Doctor Spends Two Weeks in Syria, Turkey Following Historic Earthquake

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We're approaching one month since the devastating earthquakes rocked Syria and Turkey. It’s been called the worst in modern history. Tens of thousands were killed in the first 7.8-magnitude quake. Then another one hit Syria measuring 7.5.

Volunteers and humanitarians have flocked to the region to help survivors and provide critical aid. One North Texas doctor just returned and shared what she experienced.

It’s been less than 24 hours since Nora Abdullah touched back down in the United States. Already, she realizes the profound impact of the last couple of weeks.

“People have been suffering so much. Just to see the buildings that fell to rubble. People are probably still trapped under them. Even people who made it out are afraid to go back,” she said.

Abdullah traveled with several other doctors with the nonprofit MedGlobal. Each doctor brought unique expertise to provide essential aid for the people in Turkey and Syria whose lives were torn apart by the earthquakes.

“As a Syrian American myself, it was surreal for me as I was driving into a Syria that I really never knew before To see the devastation but also see the resilience of people,” Abdullah said.

As a psychiatry resident at UT Southwestern, Abdullah was there to lend her knowledge to mental and emotional health services on the ground; training those in the field who will be there for the long haul. It’s an aspect of natural disasters than can’t be overlooked.

“[I was there] to just train them in basic trauma and train them in human trafficking,” she said. “Things that they probably would not have seen otherwise if it weren’t for the earthquakes.”

She says this experience will forever have an impact, and she hopes to give even more throughout her career.

“You can’t help but think I have to keep doing something to help these people. I have to keep this going on,” she said. “I’m glad that I have a renewed sense of purpose and that I’m able to continue helping people.”

To help those impacted by the earthquakes, visit our article here.

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