Antakya’s people are not only desperate but also have real anger.
One woman shouted, “We are being left alone,” as she helped residents move rocks and rubble with their naked hands.
Others used pickaxes and hammers to reach their relatives who were buried below, or may still be alive.
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Cagla Ezer, another woman, cried as she said that she heard her brother begging for help. She explained that he was calling his name and beg for help.
She pointed at the flattened apartment block and said, “There were 25 people there alone.” “I tried calling AFAD [Turkey’s emergency coordination group], but no one answered.”
A few meters away, a group of people crawled through the broken window of a supermarket and loaded shopping carts with goods.
We saw one man installing a new television.
Others rushed out carrying large packs of toilet paper. One young man said to us that he was hungry and that no one was helping him.
Residents are voicing their dismay at the government’s inaction here, which is a theme that runs through our community.
Hatay’s mayor is a member of the main opposition party. He has voiced criticism of government policies in past.
Residents told us repeatedly that they felt abandoned by their government.
Tahir, a resident who identified himself as Tahir, said that he had traveled non-stop from Bulgaria to assist in the relief efforts.
He was stunned at the lack of emergency services in Hatay.
He said, “People here are mad.” “We don’t need words, we need help!”
His tears brought out sadness, grief, and frustration. One of the men who was removing rubble said, “They’ll soon be here when there’s an electoral election.”
WHO warns that death toll could reach more than 20,000
As shouts are heard in the rubble, volunteers dig with their naked hands.
Images depict scenes before and after disasters
Erdogan has called for an election on 14 May amid soaring inflation, global economic woes, and it is expected to be the closest since years.
Hatay is home to a large refugee community. Many have fled Syria to seek refuge in Hatay’s vicinity.
This area is full of poverty and many buildings are older. “Why aren’t buildings more well-constructed?” Tahir asked us. Tahir asked us: “Why do we place money before our lives?”
There were a few glimmers that there was hope. We witnessed a tiny baby being taken to an ambulance. She was drip-attached and her mother, who was wearing a neck brace and softly moaning, was also taken to safety.
These moments were far more memorable than the pain of watching groups break down in tears and howl in grief when body after body was pulled out and placed on top of the rubble that had fallen on them.
They include the very young, children whose lives were cut short too soon and abruptly.
Yet, even though the region was in its second day following what’s been described as Turkey’s worst earthquake disaster, and amid continued tremors, relatives held on to the hope that their loved ones might still be alive.
Sometimes, a rescuer will call out for silence and the crowd of relatives, friends, and onlookers stand still, their ears trying to hear the faintest of cries.
“We have heard him. Cagla said that her brother was heard.
Her eyes were filled with tears, and she realized that although hope is still available, it is also very limited in time.