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‘The whole room slid’: Sisters ‘lost hope’ before being rescued from rubble after four days

Two sisters, who were trapped in their apartment’s rubble for more than four days, claim that the entire block moved in one direction after last week’s earthquake in southern Turkey.

Sky News spoke to them as Kahramanmaras residents begin the process of restoring their community from the destruction.

Plazas and parks have seen the installation of plastic tents. The authorities have begun to restore power and water.

Although the survivors may experience months, if not years of pain as they rebuild their lives from scratch, they can still draw on acts of courage.


Every one of the few residents who were rescued from the rubble has a story of wonder.

After the collapse of their seven-storey apartment block in the early hours Monday 6 February, we first saw Zeynep Civi and Elife Civi being carried by two battered-looking stretchers out of it.

Zeynep (22 years old) was crying and shivering while wearing a pair polka-dot pajamas.

She said, “Yes, I was crying because it was so joyful.” “I was freezing cold and I was shaking,” she said. It was so cold that I couldn’t feel my feet.

They were reunited with us at Kahramanmaras University Hospital, where their ordeal is still ongoing.

Image Elife states that the ‘whole space slid’

Elife, a law student, is 20. Zeynep would have saved her life, she told us.

She said, “It was a blessing to have my big sis with me. It would have been so much more difficult if I was by myself.” “We were together under the bed. We all survived together. It was cold, and we were afraid.

Elife explained to me what had happened when the tremors started. She said that she thought the tremors would stop after a few seconds, but it didn’t.

She said that the building began to slide in one direction. “The entire room slid.”

Image Zeynep claims she had ‘lost all hope’

Zeynep took a crucial decision when she realized that the block was about collapse.

She said, “I was about going to my mother’s (room)”, “I stopped at that point and waited. I heard the building falling down floor by floor. I then put my head (Elife) under the bed and got underneath the bed. This is how it happened.

The Civi sisters were locked in an air pocket beneath Zeynep’s bed, with no escape route.

Zeynep stated that they were very close, but she added, “but there was enough space to turn left or right, and the height wasn’t too high.” She placed her hand just above her head. “I was able sit up when my legs became numb, and I turned to one side.”

Image Zeynep is pictured being saved by an Israeli-Turkish group

They had nothing to eat or drink, and it was damp and cold. I wondered if their predicament seemed hopeless.

“Yes,” Elife replied. “I believed that they would rescue us on the final day. I couldn’t live without water. Because I was so thirsty, I couldn’t fall asleep. I couldn’t move and couldn’t shout. When we heard something outside, we had to scream. But I couldn’t scream anymore. I could not scream any more.”

Many of their neighbors in the block and nearby buildings lost their lives. Local residents tried to rescue the bodies trapped between concrete cracks. Volunteers offered blankets of protection to the victims in an effort to give them dignity.

The current location of thousands of Kahramanmaras residents is unknown. This includes Zeynep’s mother, and Eilfe who are both missing.

Image Kahramanmaras is trying to reclaim its community

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Horror and then happiness. Then comes the heartache of searching for three sisters living in a collapsed building.

A British volunteer looks back at rescue mission after three lives were saved

Both of their daughters are deeply worried. Zeynep stated, “I was calling for my mother – are you okay? It was very bad. It was terrible.”

Under the rubble, the sisters had some company. They were joined by a man and his baby, who was in an air pocket below them. Together they attempted to raise the alarm. They heard an Israeli-Turkish rescuer call them on the fourth day.

Elife stated, “I had cream in my hand so I started tapping with (cream’s box).” “The man under us was also shouting, so we felt a connection at that time.

“I thought that the rescue team was coming to rescue the child and man, but they actually came to rescue us. They heard us and asked our names. They asked me my name and I answered ‘Elife’. I also told them the name of my sister. It was an incredible moment. It was an incredible moment.

Image The destruction in Kahramanmaras was immense

Zeynep told us that she had given up on the hope of finding her at that point.

“We heard machines, but it was only the first and second days. Elife asked me the following: “They have forgotten about us. Why didn’t we come? Who has come to our rescue?”

Zeynep continued: “On my last day, I had lost all hope. Elife asked me: “We will die, you’re sure?” We heard a low sound, and they said that they could hear us. We tried our best to make it sound. They eventually brought us out.

Both sisters sustained cuts and bruising, and were severely dehydrated. Both sisters feel exhausted, but they are happy to be alive.

Elife asked me how this experience will change my life.

She said, “I believe everything happens in one second.” “Maybe we’re alive right now, but we could disappear tomorrow. This is why I want to live my life to its fullest.

Their resilience shines brightly in this city that has been so devastated. They will need to be able to help their fellow survivors and residents in the months and years ahead.


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