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Survivors of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey (Turkiye) and Syria that killed thousands of people have told how they felt it was Judgement Day as they watched their city crumble around them.
Search and rescue missions continue for survivors after 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes struck south east Turkey and Northern Syria in the early hours of Monday morning.
At the time of writing (February 9), an estimated 20,000 people have been confirmed dead so far by authorities and this is expected to rise further. Thousands more have been injured or impacted by the tragedy.
Concern Worldwide has launched an emergency response to help provide the basic needs of those affected.
‘Suddenly our house collapsed’
Among the people we met in the Turkish City of Adiyaman is an Afghan family who moved to the area just ten days ago.
They had to leave their home after it was damaged and they are trying to survive the freezing temperatures by lighting a small fire in a tent that is now their makeshift shelter.
Nasima* (20) spoke about the moment she fled with her daughter as their home collapsed.
She told Concern Worldwide: “We were asleep when the earthquake happened. We were terrified, my mom was scared.
“I was holding my daughter, we came outside, and suddenly our house collapsed.
“Everyone was outside, crying, running... scared, it was absolute madness.”
She spoke about their immediate needs amid the harsh winter conditions.
“Today is the third night we are homeless, my daughter and mom are sick, we are not doing fine at all.
“We want somewhere safe, because we cannot go back to our house, and it is very cold outside,” Nasima said.
Leyla Orun, from Adiyaman, described the aftermath of the earthquakes as apocalyptic.
“Adiyaman! It looks like Judgement Day, everything around us is crumbling. You can see Adiyaman; look around you!”
Leyla (55) said that she is a widow and is concerned about how she will provide for the needs of herself and her five children.
“We need clothes, we need food, we need candles to light them up, we need tents.
“We need water and we need all the basic foods for our basic needs. Hygiene materials, water, blankets and a tent for shelter," she said.
How you can help
Begum Akdoğan, Concern Turkey's programme coordinator, warned that it may take years for the area to recover from the earthquakes.
She urged people to support Concern’s emergency appeal, saying: “We need to provide everything that we can and we need to be able to coordinate with each other... It seems like the crisis will last, not just for a week but for months, or maybe a year or maybe even longer than that.
“The infrastructure is not working currently – the schools, the hospitals are not working currently.
“It will take time for them to rebuild themselves, so we need your support to support this area, to support families and to support people who are working in this field.”
*Name has been changed
As the situation becomes more and more grave, there is no time to lose. Please help if you can.
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