“It’s all gone, it’s all over”: six weeks after the earthquake, the Turks face their ruins

Manon Chaplain

A month and a half after the earthquake that left tens of thousands dead, the Turks are facing the ruins of their former lives before the disaster. In Antakya, some return before the buildings are completely razed to recover some memories.

Turkey is trying to recover from the double earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people a month and a half ago. President Erdogan continues to face criticism over his mishandling of the disaster. Before the ruined buildings are razed, the families try to recover some memories. In a hurry, Moustafa arrived at six o’clock in the morning with a truck and some friends. The day before, a neighbor warns him by SMS: his building will be destroyed in the afternoon.

A hasty move

“The day of the earthquake, we only took out our pyjamas. We came back and took out a few objects. It was very dangerous to go inside”, he testifies at the microphone of Europe 1. A few streets away, two friends are crying. They watch the neighborhood in which they grew up disappear under the diggers. “Our savings, our dreams, our hopes, it’s all gone, it’s all over,” they say.

Emril couldn’t save anything. Above all, he fears that he will never find an apartment similar to his. He had put all his savings into it: “The government says that it will give us new housing, but 25 or 30 kilometers from here. Our house was in the city center. It was three times more valuable than the one we they promise us today”.

According to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, half of the 650,000 homes to be rebuilt will be standing within a year. Faced with the task to be accomplished in Antakya, the inhabitants consider this delay unlikely.

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