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‘I thought it was over, I thought about my family's safety’, says Turkish earthquake survivor

February 6, 2023 at 2:30 pm

A person is rescued from the wreckage of a building during search and rescue efforts after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern provinces of Turkiye, in Adana, Turkiye on February 6, 2023. [Eren Bozkurt – Anadolu Agency ]

Like tens of thousands of people in Gaziantep and other southern parts of Turkiye, Erdal Bay was tucked away in his bed underneath the warmth of a blanket, Monday morning, when the earth started to shake violently, Anadolu News Agency reports.

‘I thought the line between life and death was a thin one now, and that everything would be over. I thought about my family’s safety,” said Bay, who is a Professor at Gaziantep University.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck southern parts of Turkiye on Monday morning, resulting in the deaths of over 900 people and injuring thousands.

A resident of Gaziantep for a dozen years, Bay said he responded to the quake by immediately leaving the apartment along with his family. His building, thankfully, was not damaged. However, the furniture in his home was shaken and left scattered by the quake.

He recalled coming out of his building and seeing everyone terrified and fearful. “I tried to get my children to a safe area. My mother is old. We left the building after the first quake.”

Bay, who shared his story with Anadolu through WhatsApp and text messages, is now trying to leave Gaziantep by car. “We’re in our vehicle right now. Many people are in the cars. There’s chaos and traffic everywhere.”

Saying he believes Monday’s earthquake was the most powerful he has ever felt in his life, he added: “This was a very strong earthquake. I’ve experienced different earthquakes before but haven’t felt an earthquake that lasted this long.”

The Professor said he believes Monday’s quake also exposed how unprepared he was for such emergencies. “Everyone left the house unprepared. We had no emergency bag, no awareness that we shouldn’t use elevators,” he explained.

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