Tulin Akkaya was trying to put her thoughts in order after being abruptly awakened by the worst earthquake in Turkey in almost a century when a second jolt made her run out into the street.
“I am very scared. I felt (the aftershock) very strongly because I live on the top floor,” said the 30-year-old housewife. “We ran out in a panic. It was almost the same as the earthquake at dawn. Now I can’t go back to my apartment, I don’t know what will happen next,” the woman added.
(Also read: Live: the death toll from earthquakes in Turkey and Syria rises to 1,800).
Many buildings were in ruins in his city, Diyarbakir, in the southeast of the country, which is home to many of the millions of people who have fled war and poverty in neighboring Syria.
The same scenes of devastation stretched across the main border cities of both countries after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck before dawn. The aftershock was magnitude 7.5, something scientists say only occurs about 20 times a year worldwide.
the aAuthorities put the total number of deaths at around 1,800.. The quake struck a remote and underdeveloped area. The challenge facing rescue teams in both Turkey and Syria is immense. Authorities counted more than 50 aftershocks in the first 10 hours after the initial quake and warned that they would continue for many more days.
(You can read: On video: building collapses after devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria).
It is raining, but no one dares to return to their homes for fear of new aftershocks
Several buildings collapsed both in Diyarbakir and in nearby cities. The second big shock came just as the survivors were beginning to return to their homes to collect belongings that might help them through the cold night ahead. Most of the region was left without gas or electricity. Meteorological service forecasts rain and sleet in southeastern Turkey for much of the week.
“It’s a seismic zone, so I’m used to shaking,” said reporter Melisa Salman, who lives in Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the quake, some 60 km from the Syrian border. “But it’s the first time we’ve experienced something like this,” the 23-year-old told AFP.
“We thought it was the apocalypse.” “We’ve been out since half past four in the morning. It’s raining, but no one dares to go back home for fear of new aftershocks,” she added.
(We recommend: Turkey earthquake: heartbreaking videos of children rescued from rubble).
Although the ground does not stop shaking, the rescue teams, often supported by the local population, continue to search for victims. A six-year-old girl was rescued after hours of work by lifeguards helped by her father. In total, three children could be rescued from the rubble of this completely dilapidated building in Kahramanmaras.
“I was able to save three people. But I also found two bodies. I can’t go back home. I’m staying in case they need me,” Halis Aktemur said. This 35-year-old man came to offer his help to rescue teams working in the ruins of a building in Diyarbakir.
Some establishments, such as gyms or reception rooms, welcome people who cannot return to their homes in Diyarbakir, an AFP correspondent found.
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