Devastating Earthquake: Nigerian students in Turkey recount experiences, freshers undergo trauma treatment
Thousands of people have died and rescuers are racing to pull survivors from beneath the rubble after a devastating earthquake ripped through Turkey and Syria, leaving destruction and debris on each side of the border.
Described by experts as one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in a century, the CNN reported the incident woke residents from their beds at around 4am on Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel.
Nigerian students recount experiences
For Caleb Olasupo, a student of Political Science at the Gaziosmanpasa University in Tokat, Turkey, experiencing earthquakes in the transcontinental country is not a new experience.
According to The Times, Earthquakes are not uncommon in Turkey. Most of the country is situated on the Anatolian Plate, which borders two major fault lines: the North Anatolian fault, which stretches across the country from west to east, and the East Anatolian fault, which is in eastern Turkey. The former has been the site of several disastrous earthquakes, according to the Geological Society of London, including the
1939 earthquake in northeastern Turkey that resulted in the deaths of 30,000 people.
Speaking with our correspondent, Olasupo said “I am very fine although I am devastated by the incident. The incident happened in the border towns. We are already used to the experience but the new students who are just experiencing it may be shocked. Some students are however still scared of what happened but we are getting over it.”
Olasupo isn’t the first Nigerian student to have experienced earthquakes in Turkey. Another student, Abdullah Ansori said, “Know some people were affected, though not Nigerians, but the earthquake didn’t affect İstanbul at all. It’s not like there hasn’t been any earthquakes in İstanbul, it’s just that the magnitude is low, unlike the recent one. Even I experienced one, it was limited to the shaking of the buildings”.
Also speaking with our correspondent, another student, Yakubu Abdullahi who also doubles as the President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Turkish zone said, “Turkey is an earthquake prone area. Some of our new students were traumatised and have been taken in for post-shock analysis. They will be released as soon as they are certified okay. Some of us, the old students are already used to it. Even though we are yet to ascertain the number of students in the affected areas but those of us in other provinces are fine.”
Bodies litter streets of Southern Turkey
Meanwhile bodies of people killed in the earthquake in southern Turkey on Monday are being left out on the street as the hunt continues for survivors, The BBC reports.
More than 7,000 people are known to have died in Turkey and northern Syria, which was also devastated by the quake.
The United Nations warned that thousands of children may be among the dead.
Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake struck at 04:17 (01:17 GMT) near the city of Gaziantep.
A later tremor was nearly as big, with its epicentre in the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a three-month state of emergency in the 10 provinces worst affected by the earthquake.
He said the measures would allow relief workers and financial aid into the affected regions but did not give further details.
Around 70 countries are sending aid to Turkey, but there is growing anger in some places that help is not arriving fast enough.
In the city of Antakya, some of the dead were left laid out on the pavement for hours as rescue workers and ambulances struggled to cope with the scale of the disaster.
Family members of those missing combed through the rubble looking for their loved ones. A group of men using sledgehammers and other tools found the bodies of a man and a young girl who were trapped. They called to official rescuers to use their power tools to help, but they said they had to concentrate on the living.
The men kept digging until the bodies were freed.
There is growing anger that there isn’t enough help. One woman told the BBC that rescuers came and took pictures of the building belonging to her boyfriend’s family where they believed 11 people were trapped, but they didn’t return.
She said they heard voices for hours, but then there was silence.
Turkey earthquake: Nigerian students live in affected area, says official
Kelly Akhimien is the Welfare of the Secretary of the Nigerian Community in Turkey. He speaks to Deborah tolu-Kolawole on the conditions of Nigerians living in Turkey following reports of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey, Syria and some neighbouring countries on Monday
Our community is registered as a non-governmental organisation here in Turkey and we operate as such. Well, I have been away from Turkey for a month and I just came in on Monday and that was when the incident occurred. According to reports and what we have heard so far, the incident occurred in the border towns of Turkey. Precisely the border between Turkey, Syria, Northern Cyprus and Greece. So far, we as a community of Nigerians here have been trying our best to reach out to our people so as to be sure that they are not affected by the incident but so far, we have not got information yet but I believe that our community members are all safe by the grace of God. However, a lot of Turkish citizens have lost their lives so far. A huge number of them have been affected, some have been displaced by the earthquake, lots of lives lost but we are hoping that our people (Nigerians) are very much safe wherever they are.