GRAFTON, Ohio (WJW) – The local Turkish community is heartbroken after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed thousands of people and toppled thousands of buildings on Monday.

The Turkish community in Northeast Ohio gathered at the Turkish Community Center in Grafton Monday night.

“It’s devastating, it’s unfortunate, it’s heartbreaking,” said Kamran Askove with the Turkish Community of Cleveland.

“I have many friends and family over there.  My cousin’s house half-collapsed, they were on the other side of the building so they weren’t injured,” said Engin Ates, president of the Turkish American Society of Northeast Ohio.

Ates said he experienced at least four earthquakes growing up in Turkey  — but nothing of this magnitude.

“I can feel how they are feeling right now. Every time I look at my kids, I am so lucky they are with me, but other people lost their lives,” said Ates.

There are approximately 7,000 people in the local Turkish community.

“When I saw a video of ten-story buildings collapsing overnight, I was shocked. There are human beings on every single floor,” said Eldar Muradov.

Meanwhile, the Turkish American Society of Northeast Ohio in Grafton have organized a clothing drive to aid in the recovery efforts.

“I’m outside, my house is in rubble. What do I need? Probably need something for winter.  Generators, heaters, room heaters, coats, gloves, whatever you can think of,” said Muradov.

Grafton is among 20 to 30 Turkish community centers and mosques across the country that are working with the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. in coordinating donation efforts.

Find information on the drop off locations here.

You can donate to a GoFundMe page here.