As of six days after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the death toll has climbed to 29,605 in Turkey and 3,553 in Syria. Despite ongoing rescue efforts, many survivors believe that valuable time has been lost in finding those still trapped in the rubble. Some residents, particularly in the southern Hatay province near the Syrian border, have expressed concerns that the government was slow in providing assistance to the most affected areas due to political and religious motives. Meanwhile, families of the victims, such as Elif Busra Ozturk in Adiyaman, continue to search for their loved ones amid the destruction. Despite the discovery of two of her cousins’ bodies, Ozturk remains hopeful for the safe rescue of her uncle and aunt who are believed to be trapped in a collapsed building.
Elif Busra Ozturk recounts waiting outside for help for three days, with no assistance arriving. She laments the limited number of rescue teams and their inability to intervene in all the affected areas. Abdullah Tas, who was sleeping in a car near a building where his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were buried, recounts the arrival of rescuers four days after the earthquake struck. He questions the usefulness of such a delay for those trapped under the rubble. Meanwhile, in the city of Antakya, onlookers watch as heavy machinery clears the debris from a toppled luxury apartment building.According to family members, over 1,000 residents were inside the high-rise apartment building in Antakya when the earthquake struck. Despite their claims that hundreds are still trapped inside, they express frustration with the slow and inadequate recovery efforts. Bediha Kanmaz, whose son and grandson have been recovered dead from the rubble, speaks of the atrocity of the situation and the heart-wrenching task of searching through body bags for their loved ones. President Erdogan has dismissed allegations of a lack of support from state institutions, including the military, and claims that post-disaster efforts are underway across the ten affected provinces. In Syria, the earthquake had a devastating impact on the rebel-held northwest, leaving thousands homeless for a second time due to the civil war. However, the region has received limited aid compared to government-held areas and those in neighboring Turkey. The UN aid chief, Martin Griffiths, acknowledges that the people of the northwest feel abandoned and promises to work quickly to address this failure.