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Turkiye businessmen brothers open up their mansion in Hatay for quake victims

February 22, 2023 at 3:01 pm

A view of collapsed building after earthquakes hit multiple provinces of Turkiye [Mahmut Serdar Alakuş/Anadolu Agency]

In Hatay, Turkiye’s southernmost province hit hard by the recent quakes, two generous brothers open the doors of their mansion to host quake victims and teams who work for their relief, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Salih Guzel and Emirhan Guzel mobilised all their means to turn their mansion, where their mother also lives, into a soup kitchen to serve people affected by the massive tremors with warm meal prepared by volunteer cooks.

The Turkish brothers, who settled in the West African country of Guinea 17 years ago, were in their Hatay mansion when the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes rocked southern Turkiye on 6 February.

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Salih Guzel told Anadolu that they serve 3,000 quake victims with meals every day.

“We opened the doors of our home to quake victims and those who came here to aid them,” he said.

The Guzel family currently hosts around 220 earthquake victims and volunteers, and works with volunteer cooks from the western Izmir and Aydin provinces.

Physicians, psychologists and rehabilitation teams are tending children in the mansion.

“We will overcome these difficulties together with these wonderful people,” said the entrepreneur who, with his brother, has investments in different sectors such as restaurant dining, construction and furniture.

Salih Guzel said Turkish diplomat, Cevdet Can Canikli, whom the brothers met during Canikli’s duty in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, gives the most support for their post-quake relief efforts.

The brothers, with volunteers, work hard to meet the main needs of people such as dry food and clothing within three days.

READ: Germany to double relief aid to earthquake survivors in Turkiye, Syria

In the very first hours after the earthquake, Salih Guzel pulled two people alive from under the rubble in Hatay.

He said they are working to meet the needs of quake victims for shelter as much as they can, but there are many people in Hatay who still need accommodation aid.

In case a tent city would be set up near their mansion, he promised to provide meals for people there.

Despite his earlier plan to stay in Hatay for a short while, Salih Guzel now said he will not leave his hometown until the wounds of victims are healed.

Burcin Bertecene, one of the volunteer cooks, said they have been cooking for earthquake victims since 7 February.

“All our cook friends are working hard. We are up, with 2-3 hours of sleep a day,” she said.

According to the latest official figures, over 42,300 people were killed in the powerful earthquakes centred in the southern Kahramanmaras province and struck 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Adiyaman, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa and Elazig. Thousands of others were injured.

READ: The Turkiye-Syria earthquake raises important questions about humanitarian aid