Crisis Relief in Earthquake Area

Turkey, March 2023

On March 1, Michael, Andreas and Farhad traveled from Munich via Izmir to Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey. Together with Abdu and Kale, the team spent a week there in the destroyed towns and villages. Many people have left their homes and sought refuge with friends or family members in other places. Some families are living presently apart as local fathers try to repair dwellings and have taken their wives and children to safety. Those still on the ground in the destroyed settlements are living in tents or makeshift huts.

The experiences are very intense, as many of the people the Friends meet are traumatized and desperate.

Michael reports:

The village of Aksu, which we visited right at the beginning, was almost completely destroyed by the massive earthquake at 4:17 a.m. on Feb. 6. The people were surprised during sleep. Eleven were buried and died. The village and the access road were under a thick blanket of snow until two weeks ago and telephone help could not be requested, so people had to cope on their own.
Out of about 100 families, 40 have left. Many women are temporarily staying with relatives with their children. The men are mostly still there. Ismail, the mayor of the village, says that at the beginning of the ninety-second quake, his head was catapulted almost to the ceiling of the room while he was sleeping.
They are simple people who grow tobacco, which they can't do now either. They have nightmares and depression, glad that someone is there to talk to them, share their suffering....

There are no stores, so sometimes you have the impression of driving through ghost towns. In order to reach the people in more remote areas, who are among the most severely affected, our team drives about four hours a day one way (about eight hours in total) by car and truck.

As prices have skyrocketed in the few stores that are still open, food is barely affordable. The food, hygiene items as well as the clothes brought with the truck are therefore urgently needed. Our team distributes every day until late at night and we meet hundreds of people.
Heartfelt and profound encounters, which are deeply etched in the memory....

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