March 20, 2023

Tasked with burying tons of of victims of Turkey’s large earthquakes, undertaker Ali Dogru introduced his spouse and 4 sons to stay in an outdated bus by the cemetery the place he works within the metropolis of Iskenderun.

Final month’s devastating earthquakes killed greater than 54,000 individuals in Turkey and Syria and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Survivors are sheltering in tents, container houses, resort resorts, college dormitories and even practice carriages after tons of of hundreds of buildings collapsed and others have been left unsafe.

Nervous about his household’s security, Dogru moved his household to the cemetery from their broken condo shortly after the primary earthquake struck on February 6. They’ve been residing in an deserted bus there since.

In his greater than six years working on the cemetery, the 46-year-old undertaker sometimes buried round 5 our bodies a day. The primary night time after the earthquake, he buried 12 individuals. The each day numbers of incoming our bodies started to soar and inside 10 days of the quake, he had organized the burials of a complete of 1,210 victims.

He can address residing in a cemetery, he stated, however the excessive variety of burials over such a brief time frame has left him with deep psychological scars.

A former butcher, Dogru likened the sight of individuals carrying their useless members of the family to the cemetery to individuals carrying lambs as sacrificial choices for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

“As a butcher, I used to see individuals convey lambs of their arms to be sacrificed. It hits me very onerous after I see individuals carrying their youngsters, their companions,” he stated.

With so many burials to rearrange, Dogru needed to discover heavy equipment to dig graves and coordinate with the tens of imams who got here from throughout Turkey to assist.

“All I wished was one factor: to work day and night time to complete this job. I did not need individuals coming and saying that the our bodies weren’t buried,” he stated, including there have been no mass graves.

Dogru stated he buried some youngsters and fogeys who died in one another’s arms in the identical grave and stopped individuals from separating them. “I stated: ‘Dying couldn’t separate this little one from the mom or the daddy. Why would you achieve this?’”

Dogru additionally helped officers {photograph} unidentified our bodies, and take fingerprints and blood and DNA samples. He later confirmed households to the graves of their kin, after that they had been discovered via blood checks.

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