May 16, 2024

Thousands of people in Turkey mourn loved ones as the country marks the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake that occurred on 6 February,2023. People gather in Antakya, the capital of Hatay, which is the most affected region. They protest accusing the government that  there were lack of initiatives in the rescue operation and many of the lives could have been saved. 

The protesters chanted , “ We won’t forget, we won’t forgive.” They also chanted phrases used by the people who were stuck under the rubbles but the rescue team could not help them, “ Can anyone hear my voice?”

The protesters claim that their protest is the echo of people’s inner pain. People’s hearts are bleeding. There is no way that it can be mended. They accuse the authorities of abandoning them . Many people died under rubble waiting for help to arrive.

The Earthquake

On 6 February,2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck South-East Turkey and Northern Syria. A second quake came with a magnitude of 7.5 hours later. The first quake was the most devastating one in the history of Turkey in 20 years. It took more than 50,000 lives . Turkey calls it “Disaster Of the Century.” 

The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that 15.73 million people in Turkey and Syria were affected by the earthquake. The affected areas were severely damaged and the devastation continues till this day as the scars are still fresh in people’s minds. Thousands of lives changed forever following the earthquake and the aftershock. They have lost their home, lost their family members . About 700,000 people were displaced due to the catastrophe. Thousands of people are still homeless and they are struggling to reconstruct their life. Some are living in tents near the destroyed area and some others have been given temporary container homes.

The government of Turkey has promised to rebuild thousands of shelters for the displaced population . But it is not a piece of cake as there is wide scale  destruction. It is a challenge for the government .

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