February 14, 2023
Turkey and Syria – Our Emergency Response
Ahmad, a 47-year-old Syrian refugee, and his five children were stuck under the rubbles for two hours in Hatay after the 7.8 earthquake hit the region. We met him on the side of the road. He noticed Doctors of the World (DotW) Turkey mobile team, so he came to ask for healthcare. His finger was still damaged since the earthquake. While our doctors treated him, he shared us his story.
“I still remember that day like it was yesterday. My family and I were in our home, sleeping, when suddenly the ground started shaking. It was like nothing I had ever felt before – the whole house was shaking, and things were falling off the shelves. I knew immediately that it was an earthquake.
I tried to get my family to safety, but the earthquake was too strong. Before I knew it, everything collapsed around us, and we were trapped under the rubble. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I was there with my five children, and I didn’t know if we would make it out alive.
We were there for what felt like an eternity, praying for a miracle. My children were crying and screaming, and I felt so helpless. I knew I had to be strong for them, but it was hard to keep my own fear at bay. I kept thinking about my wife, she wasn’t answering, and I prayed that she was okay.
When the rescue team finally arrived, I felt a glimmer of hope. But they were having a hard time finding us, and I didn’t know if we would be able to hold on much longer. It felt like the weight of the world was crushing down on us.
Finally, after what must have been hours, they found us. I will never forget the relief I felt when they started pulling us out of the rubble. But then they told me that my wife didn’t make it. I felt like my whole world had shattered. I didn’t know how I was going to raise my children alone, without her by my side. May God have mercy on her…
Now I am still trying to make sense of everything. I am struggling to provide for my children and to give them the love and support they need. But I know that I must keep going for their sake. They expect me to be strong. If I am afraid, they will be even more afraid. I am really devastated by the fact that they will grow up without a mother. I can’t imagine their pain and I admire their strength. I will never forget what we went through that day, and I will always cherish the memory of my wife. She was a wonderful mother and a loving wife, and she will always be with us in spirit.”