World News

Silent Phones, Freezing Rain and Anxiety During Turkey’s Earthquake

Dozens of people tried to lift huge chunks of concrete debris, listening urgently for signs of life.


A stream of cars crawled north out of the shattered town of Sanliurfa, carrying traumatized residents a little further from the site of Turkey’s strongest earthquake in decades.

Across the road, a distraught family walked through the freezing rain, their belongings crammed into a stroller, seeking shelter to spend the night.

Sanliurfa, one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey, was rocked by the massive earthquake that killed at least 3,800 people in the predominantly Kurdish region and neighboring Syria.

The disaster toppled nearly 3,500 buildings in 10 provinces, injuring more than 11,000 people and leaving an unknown number trapped under the debris.

The scale of the disaster seemed overwhelming.

But he focused on one of Sanliurfa’s main boulevards, where dozens of rescuers were trying to pull survivors from a seven-story building reduced to mounds of dirt and debris.

At least 30 people are known to have died in the province, where 200 buildings collapsed due to the pre-dawn 7.8 magnitude earthquake and relentless waves of aftershocks.

Omer El Cuneyd hoped against all hope that he wouldn’t climb any further here.

“There is a family that I know under the rubble,” said the 20-year-old Syrian student, who lives nearby.

“Until 11:00 a.m. or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she’s not answering anymore. She’s over there. I think her battery ran out,” he said, trying to stay positive.

‘We will stay’

But it was no simple task – Before him lay the gutted remains of a sofa, a chair with broken metal legs and torn curtains, all signs of the quiet, simple life left behind.

Dozens of people tried to lift huge chunks of concrete debris, listening urgently for signs of life.

They took silent pauses, peering through the rubble, filled with a mixture of exhaustion, anguish, and hope.

Omer said he and his friends would stay here all night, no matter how rainy and cold.

“I have to do it,” he said.

A few steps away, Emin Kacmaz huddled around an improvised fire that he lit with his three salesmen in front of their furniture store.

Wrapped tightly in threadbare blankets, they protected the destroyed shop from thieves.

The store’s gigantic windows were shattered and its huge columns cracked, barely able to support the seven stories of the damaged building that towered above our heads.

“The building isn’t safe,” the 30-something said, but he wasn’t about to move.

“We’ll stay here all night. It’s our livelihood.”

“Everyone is scared”

A few hundred meters away, in a parking lot on the same avenue, Mustafa Koyuncu, 55, his wife and their five children were crammed into a white car.

They weren’t moving — few people seemed to be moving.

“We are waiting here because we cannot go home. At the moment it is prohibited,” Koyuncu said, referring to a government order ordering everyone to stay on the streets for their safety.

He still held out some hope of being able to return home later on Monday.

But if that didn’t work, they would all head to a neighborhood mosque, transformed like many others into a reception center.

“Our building is safe,” Koyuncu insisted.

Her eldest daughter dared to disagree.

“No, he’s not so sure!” she interjected.

The father’s reassuring tone quickly faded.

“Who isn’t scared right now? he conceded. “Everyone is scared.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Featured Video of the Day

Repression of child marriage in Assam: justified or excessive?


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button