Turkey earthquake: Newcastle community's anxious wait for news

  • In Science
  • 2023-02-07 20:33:46Z
  • By BBC
Yunus Kandemir, left, and Eyyup Kandemir
Yunus Kandemir, left, and Eyyup Kandemir  

The north-east of England's Turkish community is desperately trying to contact relatives caught in Monday's earthquake.

More than 7,000 people are known to have been killed in southern Turkey and northern Syria as the 7.8 magnitude quake hit near the city of Gaziantep.

There is now an urgent appeal to help survivors facing freezing temperatures.

Yunus Kandemir, who lives in Newcastle, said family members he had reached had called it "the end of the world".

His sister and parents, who live in the city of Adiyaman, two hours north-east of Gaziantep, had been sleeping outside after their home was destroyed.

He has not heard from other aunts and uncles.

"We don't know what happened to them," he said.

His brother Eyyup Kandemir said there were "a lot of people under the buildings, you know, waiting for help".

Earthquake aftermath in the city of Adiyaman, Turkey
Earthquake aftermath in the city of Adiyaman, Turkey  

Yilmaz Karakus, who also lives in Newcastle, said his family had survived the earthquake but communication was difficult.

"Some families, we haven't [reached]," he said.

"We've got some family from mum's side, they live in the village, there is still a lot of people they cannot [reach] them, because of the roads."

Sahin Gulmen, chairman of the Newcastle Turkish Centre, said "physically you can't do anything" but the 1,800-strong Turkish community in the region was trying to help with donations of money and warm clothes.

From left to right, Hatice Kandemir, Arzu Kandemir and Ali Kandemir
From left to right, Hatice Kandemir, Arzu Kandemir and Ali Kandemir  

Durham University disaster recovery expert Prof Lucy Easthope, author of the Sunday Times bestselling book When The Dust Settles, said the "scale of devastation" was apparent.

"The eyes of the world will be on it for such a fleeting amount of time but, for the recovery, this is a very long response," she said.

"It's also looking like a very expensive response.

"Just the cost of the humanitarian effort... this is huge."

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