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Turks risk everything to retrieve their goods



Mattresses, documents, electronics: Turks risk it all to get their stuff back

Phone numbers and names scrawled on the cracked walls of buildings still standing


Earthquake survivors in Turkey risked returning to their damaged or collapsed homes to salvage whatever they could from their past lives, hours before another deadly earthquake struck the region on Monday.

Reuters saw dozens of people climbing mounds of rubble, crawling through cracked walls and climbing broken ladders to retrieve documents, furniture and electrical equipment – anything that could help them get started.

Two weeks after the initial massive earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, most of Antakya’s residents had left or were taking shelter in camps. As a new earthquake struck the southern city once again on Monday, local media reported that at least three people had died during evacuation.

Yasir Bayraqi said, “We are trying to save whatever we have because the loss is huge.” “We don’t know yet what kind of compensation the state will provide.”

His family had lost a sister out of 15 siblings in the February 6 earthquake. After his body was found in the wreckage six days later, they laid him to rest.

“We cannot bring back the dead. But because we have survived, we are trying to get out what is left,” said the 28-year-old natural gas pipe welder.

Beracki and six relatives returned to help her brother move things out of his apartment. They packed small items in garbage bags and compost sacks. Inside, kitchen cabinet doors were ripped open, paint had peeled off the walls and the cracked facade had partially fallen out.

Through an open window of a second-floor apartment, now accessed by a pile of rubble from an adjacent building, they dragged a mattress, sofa and a washing machine on their backs, trying to make it through the concrete while walking in sandals. Don’t fall on the pieces. ,

“Slowly,” said one person.

“Give me the poker table too,” said another, half joking, as a doll was tossed at him.

The items will be stored at the family home in a nearby village, which Beraki considers safe. “We built it with our own hands, so we trust it in every aspect.”

tv and toilet paper

In another Antakya neighborhood, Kinan al-Masri hoped to retrieve some savings, a passport and a birth certificate from his apartment. He has returned to his street every couple of days since the first quake, but officials told him it was too dangerous to go inside.

The purple-tiled compound, which he had built with relatives to house a family of seven, was damaged but still standing, with planters sitting upright on the balcony.

“We had invested everything in this building. Now, it is ready for demolition,” said the 30-year-old translator.

Although all his relatives were safe, he said he missed the neighborhood, where most of the structures on his street were reduced to rubble.

The buildings still had phone numbers and names scrawled on the cracked walls so officials could contact residents as needed. Many apartments seemed frozen in time, with TVs still hanging on the walls, toilet paper in open bathroom cupboards and sofas still set around a living room table.

In a nearby street, a family sat on a mattress surrounded by a pile of plates, rugs and an oven. He had hired a crane to bring down the heavy furniture and was negotiating the price with the operator.

“It’s too risky,” said the operator.

“We still want it,” replied a dismayed family member.

empty handed

He said Bilal Ibrahim survived the initial quake with his wife and children, but his brother died.

His baby nephew, who had been taken away in an ambulance after being pulled out of the wreckage, was missing, and Ibrahim was going from hospital to hospital to find him.

On Monday, the 34-year-old mechanic was connecting his broken red Suzuki Maruti to his dead brother’s car with a metal wire found in the wreckage.

The apartment where he and his family had lived for seven years was up for demolition, he said, and he could not enter to retrieve anything.

“The most important thing is that my family is safe,” she said, struggling to hold back tears. “Having lost my brother, it is as if I have lost the whole world.”

Arsin, who wanted to be identified only by his first name, was wading into the rubble with his father wrapped in seven sheets. At least one makeshift sack was filled with documents he needed for his accounting business.

They said that they were leaving their apartments to live in university dormitories in Mersin. “we are tired.”

Gökçen Karadeniz, 33, was looking at his ground-floor flat in Antakya for the first time since the initial tremors. The walls were almost completely open so that he could see his dust-covered olive sofa turned on its side.

He hoped to get some of the property back before authorities tore down the building, he said, but it was too dangerous to enter.

After staring at the building for a few minutes, Kardeniz got back in the car and drove away with nothing.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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