A Turkish man living and working in Dublin is “feeling helpless” as his family is left living in a tent with no water, food, or electricity following the devastating earthquake in his homeland.
li Gokurt is from Hatay and studied English in Dublin. He currently works in a hotel in the capital.
Mr Gokurt’s mum Nedeema, a widow, his sister and 96-year-old grandmother lived in a home he had helped to build after saving hard during his time working on container ships.
While their home withstood the first earthquake, his family were still forced to live in tents while they awaited the official all clear to go home.
But on February 20, Mr Gokurt’s family home was severely damaged by another 6.4 level quake that struck Hatay again.
“I don’t feel good because I’m here and I can’t do anything for my family. I’m anxious for them. When I see the news, I feel bad,” Mr Gokurt said.
“My mam cries every time I call her, she’s frustrated, her home is gone. We don’t know what will happen.”
His friend Annemarie Kilkenny added: “The first earthquake at the end of January, every single member of Ali’s family was made homeless and unemployed.
“Their house withstood the first one, there was an element of hope there. But the house fell in the next earthquake.
“Ali wants to go home but they’re telling him there’s no point because it’s too difficult to get into Hatay and even if he does get there, he’ll be sitting looking at his whole family doing nothing. He’s currently the only person in his family with a job. He feels helpless.
“The authorities told them not to go back to their houses because they couldn’t verify if they were safe. They were living in tents, then Ali’s mother and sister were moved out of the area after the second earthquake. His other sister was sent somewhere else.
“His two grandmothers, who are still in Hatay, are in tents on the ground. His mother is in a cabin used for seasonal farm workers.”
Ali’s family is struggling without their home and their jobs. His uncle owned a hardware store and his brother was a teacher, but their workplaces have been destroyed, leaving them unemployed.
“Every night he’s on the phone to his mother and you can hear the fear, they’re petrified,” Annmarie said.
“It’s going to take a long time to resolve this but in the short term, the Go Fund Me page will hopefully help them get food and everyday items.
“They’ve no running water, no electricity, no gas and they’re cooking on the ground, they make a fire.
“Both grandparents have a lot of difficulties feeding and washing them. There’s access to charge phones though.
“They’re caught in a trap; they can’t go home. We set up a Go Fund Me page to send back some money to meet their immediate needs.”
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