LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Southern California woman whose family survived the massive earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria is sharing their emotional story as she struggles to be away from them.
Irem Gulum, new to the U.S., has family near the epicenter of the quake. She says they're thankful to be alive but are now forced to live in their car.
"I have to be strong. For them. Because everything is going to be hard for us. Not just now - after now," she told Eyewitness News.
She's heartbroken for her native homeland - images of the despair and devastation from that 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey is taking its toll. Thousands have died and more have been left homeless - including her family.
"We don't have any house anymore, we don't have any job."
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Her mother, brother, grandparents and extended family survived. Since the quake, she says they've spent their days helping with search efforts. By night, they sleep in a car in the bitter cold.
"They start to sit around the flame to get warm. Still, they are not very good, but at least I know they are alive so I'm trying to motivate with this information," she said.
The area is in dire need of help, and with so many roads and pathways damaged, Gulum fears relief will be slow and difficult.
The young woman works for Berlin's restaurant in Los Angeles. They've started a GoFundMe page with the goal of shipping supplies to the region.
Gulum encourages people to support organizations providing support and recovery to those affected in Turkey and Syria.