“We do not have anything other than our own power to trust” Observations from Hatay
We reached Antakya from Istanbul with a group of 44 people yesterday evening. There was chaos in the villages and cities we passed along the way. While the people intervened in the wrecks with their own means, they were also trying to meet the minimum requirements for survival. We did not see anything on behalf of the state, except for local officials. Moreover, the local officials seemed to have no idea what to do. The only thing that dominated the whole was confusion.
When we reached the Armutlu Mediterranean Coordination Center, we saw that those who came before us and the local people started to organize all the basic needs in a short time like 40 hours under the leadership of the revolutionaries. While we were unloading the supplies from the bus, the search and rescue teams were returning to the center. Since there is no electricity or external lighting facilities throughout the city, search and rescue operations can only be carried out during the daytime. When the scarcity of excavation materials is added to this situation, search and rescue efforts become very difficult. However, hundreds of people can be reached with more equipment, just as dozens of lives have been saved with the limited work of volunteers. We quickly formed a division of labor among us and determined our friends who would participate in the search and rescue efforts at the first light of the day. We formed groups with experienced friends and health professionals. Experienced friends and health professionals organized trainings throughout the night.
The rest of us participated in the division of labor at the Coordination Center. In addition to saving people, survival is a real and serious issue. Here, three meals a day are provided, as well as the need for clothing. However, since only daylight can be used, the need for 24 hours is organized in 8 hours. For this reason, the need for manpower and material is very high.
There is no tent city in Antakya that people can use. People mostly use their vehicles or any solid enclosed places they can find. Heating and lighting at night is a big problem. Therefore, our first goal is to expand the coordination centers district by district and turn them into a tent city. As we write these lines, our friends are trying to make beds with very limited means. Today, we aim to turn a tennis court into a dormitory.
We need a lot of people and a lot of materials. Once again, we saw that we have nothing to rely on but our own strength. We can only remove the debris created by the earthquake in every sense with our solidarity. We will continue to convey our observations and studies.
February 8, 2023