A Blackburn mosque is leading an appeal to raise funds for the Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal.

The appeal is being led by Musabhai Haldarvi, 71, who has been travelling to disaster zones to distribute aid for over three decades.

He will head a team from the Masjid E Raza, on Balaclava Street which has teamed up with a registered organisation in Turkey and local volunteers to visit the affected areas later this month.

The first 7.8 magnitude quake hit the Turkish city of Gaziantep in the early hours of Monday, reducing thousands of homes and buildings across the south of the country and northern Syria to rubble as people slept.

A series of aftershocks has left tens of thousands injured and survivors are feared trapped under thousands of collapsed buildings. Over 11,000 people have been killed in the disaster.

Mr Haldarvi, will be travelling on Tuesday 28 February and is hoping to raise as much as possible to help those affected by the quake.

He said: “I could just not sit around and do nothing and wanted to raise as much money as possible.

“We want to provide aid, support and rehabilitation to the most needy. All donations will be personally distributed by the team on ground with the support of registered charities over there.

“The mosque have been very proactive in their support as have other local mosques who are sharing our appeal.”

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The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)D said it expects humanitarian needs to grow over the coming days, with access to shelter, clean water and warmth all potential risks.

Stretched rescue teams have toiled through the nights this week, hunting for signs of life in the aftermath of the world’s deadliest quake in more than a decade.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the especially hard-hit Hatay province, where more than 3,300 people died and entire neighbourhoods were destroyed.

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Mr Haldarvi first took part in a mercy mission in the early 90s when he headed out to Bosnia by-road. He has since travelled to among others Kenya, Pakistan, Somalia Jordan and Albania to aid emergency appeals.

This time he will be flying out and all volunteers are funding their own costs.

Mr Haldarvi added: “We have getting a lot of support from people across the country and we need to collect as much as possible.

“Just a note we are not collecting goods or clothes.”

If anybody would like to join the team they can contact Musabhai Haldarvi for further information. Volunteers will be responsible for their own travel costs.

Anyone wanting further information please call Mr Haldarvi on 07790 561429.