François Large reports on the situation in Turkey and Syria
Sunday 12 February 2023
François Large, humanitarian aid coordinator of Caritas Luxembourg, arrived in Turkey a few days after the earthquake.
He reports on the situation and on the aid provided by Caritas Luxembourg:
The situation is catastrophic. There are tens of thousands of victims.
When I arrived in Antakya, I saw collapsed buildings everywhere. The few buildings still standing were cracked and too dangerous to stay in. Survivors and rescuers were cooking and heating in the streets. There was no drinking water, no electricity, no food. It was like a siege situation, like a war. Now people are staying in informal camps that are springing up everywhere - outside the city but already much further away too - and they sleep in basic tents made of plastic sheeting. The temperature at night is freezing. The priority is therefore to get stronger, more resistant tents and to heat them. And of course, to continue to distribute food, water, hygiene products and medicines. In Syria, for example, some camps are becoming overcrowded with new arrivals. And with deplorable hygiene conditions, there is the risk of a cholera epidemic.
And the victims also need support to get over what has happened. The earthquake lasted 47 seconds, but what I hear every time I talk to a survivor is that it felt like an eternity. And it will take time for them to overcome the consequences of those few seconds in which they lost everything: loved ones, a home and everything inside, memories, in short, a whole life... We will have to stay with them as long as necessary to help them rebuild and reconstruct.
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