March 28, 2023

Diyarbakir, Turkey – Volunteers at a three-storey workplace block in Diyarbakir sit amid a fog of cigarette smoke, sipping cups of black tea as they plan the logistics of delivering support to victims of Turkey’s earthquake catastrophe,

Dozens of helpers, working from workplaces borrowed from town’s Chamber of Commerce, are coordinating cargoes of provides for thousands and thousands of individuals affected by the disaster final week.

They’re only a small cog in a machine of many support operations arrange by strange residents throughout Turkey.

“Our motivation comes from eager to help our individuals, and that is what we’re working for,” mentioned Evin Seker, a 30-year-old sociologist who usually works for a legislation agency in Diyarbakir, a southeastern metropolis of two million in a province that bears the identical title, and the biggest Kurdish-majority metropolis in Turkey.

“I beforehand labored as a volunteer for an NGO serving to kids, and when the earthquake occurred, all of us got here collectively to assist the individuals who had misplaced all the things.”

Seker and her fellow volunteers are working across the clock to arrange support starting from meals and shelter to toiletries and clothes. They’ve additionally despatched rescue employees and medics to the catastrophe zone,

Their preliminary focus was on Diyarbakir itself, which is the easternmost of the ten provinces hit by the February 6 quakes, nevertheless it has now switched to different provinces resembling KahramanmarasAdiyaman and Hataywhere the dying toll and stage of destruction are far larger.

“Solely a handful of buildings collapsed in Diyarbakir, however there was nonetheless an incredible lack of life,” mentioned Sirac Celik, a commerce union official serving to on the support centre.

Some 350 individuals died in Diyarbakir, in accordance with the Diyarbakir Metropolis Safety and Solidarity Platform. Search and rescue efforts had been persevering with on Monday at three websites the place 55 individuals are considered beneath the rubble.

“We’ve organized lots of of locations for individuals to remain throughout town and we’re taking care of them in addition to arranging vans carrying no matter is required to different provinces,” Celik mentioned.

Throughout town, a takeaway kebab restaurant within the Yenisehir neighborhood has been was an improvised support distribution heart.

Kebab Cease proprietor Sinan Guneri was shaken from mattress by the primary earthquake. He quickly gathered his employees to begin distributing free meals across the metropolis to rescue groups and survivors.

His enterprise has been placed on maintain as Guneri, along with household, associates and different native companies, masses support convoys on the street exterior.

“We aren’t doing this for cash,” he mentioned. “We’re simply making an attempt to assist individuals. Individuals and different companies convey what’s needed right here and we put together vans to ship them to the earthquake areas. Individuals even convey issues from their properties to ship.

“We’re going to the villages and different locations which are troublesome to succeed in. It is our responsibility to assist individuals as greatest we will.”

Guneri and his band of volunteers synchronize their efforts with different advert hoc citizen support teams throughout the nation by way of Twitter and WhatsApp.

“The largest downside is coordination,” he mentioned. “In the mean time my associate is with the vans and I’m talking to different teams to seek out the place the locations are that need assistance most urgently.”

Yilmaz Tekin, a 32-year-old volunteer loading an support truck at one other unexpectedly established distribution heart in Diyarbakir, mentioned his mother and father advised him how strange residents had volunteered to offer support after the 1999 Marmara earthquake that struck east of Istanbulkilling an estimated 18,000 individuals.

“We’re all right here as a result of we really feel an actual must do one thing to assist individuals,” he mentioned.

“This earthquake is like nothing we have now seen earlier than, however my mother and father knew individuals who died within the Marmara earthquake they usually advised me how the state did nothing within the early days so individuals had to assist one another.”

From a small constructing housing the workplaces of a academics’ affiliation in Diyarbakir’s Kayapinar district, Tekin and scores of others type a human chain to go support provides hand-to-hand to a lorry that’s too massive to entry the slender highway.

“We had been right here inside three hours of the earthquake hitting,” he mentioned. “Though Diyarbakir is an enormous metropolis, generally it feels smaller as a result of everybody appears to be like out for one another. We apply that spirit to the work we’re doing now.”

It’s not simply lorries that carry provides from the white-painted, two-storey constructing, but additionally non-public automobiles, the boot and again seats piled excessive with blankets, clothes, sugar, tea and different requirements.

Kurdish language instructor Fesih Zirek is overseeing the operation from a small workplace in the back of the constructing. A gradual stream of individuals comes and goes and the hall exterior is congested with volunteers hauling bins of provides.

“After all, it’s nice to see so many individuals who really feel the necessity to assist,” Zirek mentioned. “However the tragedy is at all times near the floor for everybody. We hope as of late will go quickly.

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