Turkey Earthquake: Hope turns to anger as chance of recovering survivors fades, rescue efforts stall
Hatay has been among Turkey’s worst-affected provinces by the earthquake that hit southeastern Anatolia on February 6. Much of Antakya, the province’s capital and largest city, remains in ruins as rescue work has yet to begin.
While the neighborhood has still not seen any assistance from formal rescue teams, a local resident informed us that a local jeweler in the district had commissioned a bulldozer on his own in order to sort through the ruins of his jewelry shop and recover buried goods. Other than this isolated example, the Güllübahçe neighborhood has yet to see the arrival of a bulldozer, rescue team, or other official provisions in order to assist in rescue and rebuilding efforts.
Another local Jemil Saati, a resident of central Antakya for 50 years, described his experiences on the night of the earthquake. Having successfully exited his damaged house, Saati has spent the past week at a small park next to his house. The 82-year-old Saati mentioned that he’d injured his knees while attempting to flee his building and was concerned that it might rain in the coming days as his stay at the park is still open-ended.
A mother who had come from Ankara to rescue her child buried under rubble had been accused of theft and looting. The woman appeared to be in the midst of a nervous breakdown as she described how her only wish was to recover the body of her daughter and leave the city of Antakya.
As the lackluster earthquake response of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Ministry (AFAD) has received heavy criticism by both the general public and independent media, much of Turkey’s government-run media continues to tell a different story of the state’s response to the disaster.
In contrast with main stream media’s lauding of AFAD, local residents and civil authorities feel rage and anger due to the slow motion rescue efforts amid thousands of untouched wreckage hiding thousands of people under rubles.