A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday (Feb 6), killing over 1,400 people in their sleep, levelling buildings and causing tremors felt as far away as Greenland. This was the most powerful earthquake in nearly a century in that region.

The disaster was followed hours later by a slightly smaller aftershock. Entire sections of major Turkish cities in a region filled with millions of people who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts have been wiped out collectively.

At least 560 people died in rebel and government-controlled parts of Syria, state media and medical sources said. Another 912 people died in Turkey. Rescue efforts are hampered by a winter blizzard that covered major roads in ice and snow. The quake made three major airports in the area inoperable, further complicating deliveries of vital aid.

News of natural disasters and tragedies are not new to us – but here are three simple reasons why we should continue to care.

God comforts us so that we can comfort others.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

God loves us so that we can love others.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

God never leaves us alone in our suffering so we should not leave others alone in theirs.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

As we go about our daily routines, let’s keep our fellow brothers and sisters on our hearts and in our prayers.

Pray for those who have been afflicted.

For those whose homes and families have been destroyed. Pray for them to have strength to process their grief and shock. Pray for them to find safe shelter in these harsh weather conditions.

Pray for the frontline responders.

For them to have strength to endure the search and rescue mission safely and efficiently. For them to receive resources and support in time.

Pray for the families who are waiting to be reunited.

For comfort to be near them in this time of pain and despair. For them to hold on to hope in the time of waiting and uncertainty.