NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — As of Thursday, Feb. 10, at least 20,000 people are dead after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday. That death toll is expected to rise.

Qusai Al Hussien lives in Syria. He told KNWA/FOX24 through Celine Kassem, a media coordinator with the Syrian Emergency Taskforce, that he’s been searching for his uncle’s family in the Aleppo Countryside for the past three days, sifting through the rubble.

Unfortunately, his uncle’s wife and her two grandkids have died. Hussien said a lot of the aid will be coming too late. Many people were physically trying to drag people out from under buildings with their hands.

“We could have saved all these people if we had the right machinery, but we just did not have that machinery and we did not have those resources,” said Hussien.

Hussien also works as a media coordinator for Tomorrow’s Dawn Women’s Center. According to the Syrian Emergency Task Force’s website, it’s a school in northern Idlib Province that provides education for widows of war and educational courses to secondary students who have not had schooling.

Rebecca Clendenen grew up in Siloam Springs, Ark., and is living in Istanbul, Turkey right now as a Fulbright Fellow. When the earthquake hit, her roommate had family members who were hit by the quake. Her roommate was on the phone with her sister when the second quake hit.

She said that led to a lot of crying, panic attacks, and terror. According to Clendenen, a lot of people are still waiting to hear from their family members and have no idea if they’re okay.

The earthquake comes while the political climate is already in turmoil, which Clendenen said is creating more issues for survivors.

“There is a competitive authoritarian regime that has an election in May. They’re incredibly repressive,” said Clendenen.

Clendenen has already received some support to go towards people who have been impacted by the natural disaster. Both Clendenen and Hussien said there’s a lot more assistance that’s needed.

If you would like to send funds through the Syrian Emergency Task Force, you can go here.

Clendenen also referenced The Turkish Philanthropy Funds as a good place to donate.