There is not enough water, food or shrouds in quake-hit provinces of Turkey, journalists report

Journalists in the earthquake-hit provinces have been reporting shocking facts on living conditions. Villagers think that wolves might have eaten dead bodies under the rubble because they lack certain body parts, journalists disclose. "The earthquake did not kill my children, the state did," a father said, adding that the help did not arrive in time to rescue his children from under the rubble despite their voices were heard.

People sit around a fire near the site of a collapsed building, as the search for survivors continues, in the aftermath of major quakes in Maraş province on Feb. 9 (Reuters)

Gazete Duvar

Journalists in the earthquake-hit provinces have been reporting shocking facts on living conditions and civilians’ struggle to search and rescue, according to reporting by Ferhat Yaşar from Gazete Duvar.

Some 13.5 million people have been affected in 10 provinces, in an area spanning 1,000 square kilometers in two major earthquakes that struck Turkey’s southeastern region on Feb. 6.

Journalist Rabia Çetin reported her observations in Urfa and Adıyaman provinces. "The city stinks of corpses," said Çetin, and described the Adıyaman province as complete ruins.

Saying that “people carry dead bodies with wheelbarrows,” she reported that funerals await on the sidewalks for hours because there is no car to carry the bodies. She also stated that the city needs shrouds as well because people are buried wrapped in blankets. Relatives of those who were killed in the quake have constant nervous breakdowns.

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) does not have enough rescue teams in Adıyaman, and civilians organize with each other to rescue at least the dead bodies of their relatives, Çetin reported.

Journalist Rawin Sterk reported from the villages of Adıyaman province and explained the detrimental conditions that people have been subjected to.

According to Sterk, everywhere is in ruins under a horrible blizzard. In some cases, avalanches fell on the villages. There is also no electricity or running water in the villages, and people stay in barracks.

"Some of the bodies that have been found have no arms or legs,” Sterk added. Villagers believe that wolves ate dead bodies.

Serkan Alan and Ceren Bayar reported the frustration of the people from Adıyaman as well. Most people share their stories from the first two days when their relatives were still alive under the rubble, but no help had arrived.

"Rescue teams listened to my children's voices (from under the rubble). The crane did not come. We waited. The earthquake did not kill my children, the state did," Abdullah Akbaş said, referring that the help did not arrive in time to rescue his children.

Journalist Şilan Çelik, following news in Adana and Hatay provinces, said, "It's like the scene from Pianist, the movie. Everywhere is in ruins. I sniffed this smell last time at the Ankara Station Massacre (in 2015), it smells dead here.”

She stated that the first problem is that the bodies cannot be taken out, and the second is that there are bodies on the streets. There are no places left in cemeteries in Hatay.

Journalist Fırat Fıstık, who has been following news in Hatay and Antakya provinces, shared that there is not enough food, water, electricity, internet, or telephone line in the province.

"Due to the traffic, the funeral vehicles cannot work comfortably. You see corpses on the sidewalks while walking on the road. People carry the corpses wrapped in a blanket of their relatives. Sometimes, they put two corpses on a blanket," he added.

Reporting from Adana province, Can Bursalı and Kadir Cesur shared the struggle of the people trying to find the bodies of their dead relatives.

Although the number of collapsed buildings in the city is low compared to other quake-striken provinces, the destroyed high-rise buildings increase the number of dead and wounded. An AFAD officer stated that the morgues and cold storage in the city were exceeded, and there was no room left.

Reporting from Urfa province, Fatma Keber said that life has been going back to normal very slowly. Nonetheless, those who cannot afford to pay for food and other supplies depend on others.

Didem Barut reported from Malatya, where the temperature is expected to be -17°C at night, and stated that only those who do not have the financial strength to go elsewhere stayed in the province.

People on the street are trying to warm up by lighting a fire, but even the fire cannot withstand the cold, as the temperature is usually below zero celcius degrees. Also, there is no fuel in the city; hence, people cannot use their cars to warm up. Some of the villages disappeared from the map after two major quakes, Barut reported.

Shrouds, body bags, coffins, and hearses were requested from the surrounding provinces. These materials were delivered to Malatya late at night. The bodies identified are buried in mass graves dug on Feb. 8.

As of Feb. 9 evening, the death toll from devastating earthquakes has risen to 16,546, at least 66,132 people were injured.

The number of demolished buildings has been yet recorded as 6,444.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)