The Turkish street that lies in ruins after the quake

08 February 2023 - 10:24
By Antonio Denti
An aerial view shows damaged and collapsed buildings following an earthquake, in Hatay, Turkey.
Image: UMIT BEKTAS/Reuters An aerial view shows damaged and collapsed buildings following an earthquake, in Hatay, Turkey.

Street no. 21 in Hatay, Turkey was, on Sunday, a happy home for dozens of families. By Monday, there was hardly anything left of it.

Turkey's deadliest earthquake since 1999 left the street in ruins and its surviving residents homeless, desperately seeking missing relatives, and in shock as they processed what had happened.

Rescue workers have struggled to reach some of the worst-hit areas, held back by destroyed roads, poor weather and a lack of resources and heavy equipment.

“Words are sticking in my throat. Crying is no longer a remedy,” said Halil Gencoglu on Tuesday, fighting back tears.

The city centre was, he said, “almost like a ghost city. We have gone back at least 50 years in time. Our lives are ruined. Our children are devastated... At least two or three people died from each home.”

Hardly a building was left standing in the street. Doors, roofs and windows lay scattered. Injured people were pulled out of the remains of what once were homes. Many people stood in silence, staring in disbelief.

Abdulkadir Dogan had already lost his parents in the earthquake and was still hoping to find his cousin alive.

“We want to rescue our wives, relatives and friends who are stuck. They are our priority because we are trying to cling to life with them... My cousin is stranded there and I am here and I can do nothing,” he said. 

Reuters