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Social Responsibility

Rug Industry Responds to Earthquake in Turkey, Shares Relief Effort Information

Feizy, Creative Touch, Unique Loom, Loloi and ORIA provide updates following the devastating earthquake in Turkey and share recommendations on how the area rug community here can help in the relief efforts.

Lisa Vincenti
Unique Loom graphic for Turkish earthquake relief donations
Unique Loom has launched a dollar-for-dollar matching program up to $1 million for Turkish earthquake relief.
SPECIAL REPORT -- The U.S. area rug industry, which relies heavily on machine-made rugs produced in Turkey, is assessing the potential long-term consequences of the country's devastating earthquake, with some vendors offering suggestions on how the area rug community can assist.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6, with its epicenter in Gaziantep, Turkey, where many area rug manufacturing facilities are located, has proven one of the deadliest natural disasters of the century. The earthquake leveled blocks of buildings throughout the affected region, displacing thousands of residents and damaging two nearby ports and major highways.

In an email, John Feizy reassured Feizy customers and clients that the company's Covtex factory, located in Gaziantep, will likely be operational within the next several days, and more importantly, its staff are safe.

"Thankfully, all our Covtex staff members reported in safe and sound," Feizy stated. "While there are many challenges to overcome with cleanup and structural assessments of homes to be deemed suitable for habitation, all are secure and doing the best they can through this difficult time.

"The Covtex factory and office building fared well and will be inspected in the next [few] days. Based on all facts received, we expect the factory to be operational within the next couple of days though we do expect delays with everything from the supply chain of raw materials to backups and delays resulting from damage at the two major ports," he explained.

Feizy reports that staff of its Covtex facility are safe and expects operations to restart soon.
"To our staff and their families in Turkey: we will do everything in our power to assist you through this crisis," he continued. "You have our support throughout the reconstruction and healing process. To our customers: we will continue to do our utmost to maintain current service levels and will keep you informed as progress is made."

Baki Ildiz, general manager, Creative Touch, told RugNews.com, "Our facilities were not affected. However, many other companies whose production is in Gaziantep, all machine-made rugs, would be affected by this tragedy. The loss of lives is enormous and the effect on the people who live there will be forever. Many might have lost family members, friends and co-workers.

"The buildings took tremendous damage, and many have collapsed. Lots of people have been displaced from their homes to makeshift living quarters in tents, others left the city and towns to their family and friends' homes in other cities. Production has slowed down or halted in many of these facilities. The roads to certain areas in and out have been damaged, blocked or have heavy traffic due to the logistics of help, supplies, and individuals coming or leaving the city of Gaziantep."

While there are many agencies assisting in the crisis, Ildiz recommends Ahbap, a Turkish aid organization, that will help provide shelter, food and medical supplies to those impacted by the earthquake.

"Creative Touch has roots in Turkey and therefore many people have reached out to us for guidance on how to support the victims of this natural disaster," Ildiz stated. "If you are able and inclined, [Ahbap] has been recommended to us for donations." He suggests that those wanting to give perform their own due diligence in researching charitable organizations prior to donating.

Turkish relief and aid organization Ahbap is on the ground delivering food and essentials to residents in regions
damaged by the earthquake.

To learn more about Ahbap or to donate, click here.


In addition, area rug manufacturer Unique Loom has pledged a dollar-for-dollar donation match up to its goal of $1 million to assist with the relief effort in Turkey.

“It is with a heavy heart that we reflect on the devastating and tragic earthquakes that recently struck our beloved and familiar city of Gaziantep," stated Adeleh Nassri, Unique Loom, head of business development. "Many are still isolated due to frigid temperatures while blocked roads are preventing rescue teams from reaching the affected areas and those in need. The impact of this disaster has been nothing less than catastrophic, with widespread destruction that has left many without homes and necessities.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Gaziantep and their affected families. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of life, and the importance of coming together to support one another - so please feel free to share our donation efforts with your friends and family. Let us be a shining example of compassion, generosity, and humanity.”

Unique Loom noted that Gaziantep has played a significant role in the growth of the company in the last decade. "While our headquarters are in South Carolina, a large portion of operations are in Gaziantep, and our unique position on the ground comes with a major responsibility."

Currently, two of Unique Loom’s production facilities in Gaziantep have been designated as structurally sound, and they are operating as shelters for those in need. Unique Loom has also set up two pop-up kitchens to provide food for those sheltering. In situations like this, the company feels that nothing is enough and it hopes to do much more for those affected by this unprecedented disaster.

Using the company's nonprofit organization — the Maman Foundation — Unique Loom has has setup a GoFundMe campaign to support the survivors and those who have been displaced from their homes.

“Your contribution, no matter how small, will go a long way in helping the survivors, the country and our employees get back on their feet. Your donations will provide food, shelter, warmth, clean water, medical care and other essentials for rebuilding their lives. Please help if you can,” Unique Loom stated.

Loloi also sent an email updating customers on the situation. "As the devastation from recent earthquakes in Turkey becomes more clear, we're in frequent contact with our team members and partners in the Turkish rug-making community. Our first priority and current focus is their well-being, and we're doing anything we can to help on that most-important front, including financial contributions to local aid efforts."

The company added, "After the immediate emergency has passed, we'll begin to understand and communicate any potential impacts on product deliveries. Thank you for your patience, and for sharing in our concern and consideration for all those affected by this disaster."


The Oriental Rug Importers Association (ORIA) is working alongside its sister organization in Turkey to raise funds and collect supplies for those impacted by the earthquake. Lucille J. Laufer, executive director, stated: "In reaction to the devastating earthquake that hit in Turkey and Syria last week, our sister organization in Turkey is raising funds and collecting supplies for those affected by the earthquake in Turkey. I know many of you have already made contributions, but if you are still looking for an avenue to make a donation, please see the information from the Turkish Exporters Carpet Association." 

The Turkish Exporters Carpet Association is working alongside a coalition of various Turkish textiles associations to assist those impacted by earthquake.

The Turkish Exporters Carpet Association alongside several exporters organizations are seeking donations for
earthquake relief efforts.

To send a cash donation to the ORIA’s Turkish exporters organizations' relief effort, banking details follow:

Istanbul Hazirgiyim Ve Konfeksiyon Ihracatcilari Birligi Egitim Vakfi
Bank IBAN number for USD funds:TR 76 0001 5001 5804 8010 5209 57
Bank Account number for USD funds: 001 5001 5804 8010 5209 57
Bank Swift Code: TVBATR2A
Please write the explanation on wire as “Help for the Earthquake in Turkey”.

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