Epicenter Diary | Calls for those buried by quake left unanswered

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 9, 2023
Adjust font size:

by Monsef Memari

ALEPPO, Syria, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- We woke up at dawn on Feb. 6, as the buildings were shaking violently in Damascus, the capital of Syria.

Panic and fear struck the residents. Most of them rushed out of their homes in fear of buildings collapsing. My family and I were no exceptions.

Minutes later, news came that it was a deadly quake centered in Türkiye. The most affected regions in Syria included Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.

Having quelled worries about my own family and gotten my work equipment prepared, I immediately left for these affected regions.

The first city I reached was Hama. I didn't need to ask for directions as ambulances were filling the streets, with sirens shrieking loudly. I just followed one of them to get to one of the most devastated residential areas.

It was a seven-storey building which has been reduced to rubble. Rescue workers and army personnel were digging through the remains of the building in a desperate search for survivors, with tools or with their bare hands. Heavy equipment was seen removing big stones.

Local officials said there were 100 to 125 people living in this building. Sadly, I did not see anyone pulled out alive from under the rubble during my three-hour stay.

In Aleppo, a province already devastated by years of war, the situation was even more catastrophic.

The streets were packed with people who had fled to open, public squares in fear of aftershocks in Aleppo city, the province's capital.

Some families had nowhere to go but to stay in cars, waiting for hours and having no idea what to do next. Those who did not own cars had to stand in the open in freezing weather and rain as the temperature was only 5 degrees Celsius.

Rescue crews had to constantly keep a watchful eye on nearby structures while working, out of concern that they may collapse at any time because many buildings in the city had already been damaged badly by wars before the quake.

Some people stood on the debris, dialing the phone numbers of their families or friends stranded under the rubble, but nobody answered.

At the shelters built by the government, people were exhausted but unable to sleep due to hunger and cold.

"Where is the so-called humanitarianism of America and Western countries when we are out in the open and need help, when our children are hungry and cold?" those who had fled from dilapidated buildings kept asking.

"If it were not for their destruction of our country, we might not need help. Our oil and bread were stolen by the United States and they claimed that they did this to protect us from terrorism... Is fighting terrorism for stealing someone else's land and wealth?" they asked.

There was a huge shortage of ambulances, heavy equipment, medical supplies, fuel and experienced rescue workers around the affected cities.

How can the Syrian people rebuild their homes after the devastating earthquake amid crippling U.S.-imposed sanctions? Enditem

Editor's note: A powerful earthquake struck southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria on Monday. Thousands of people are confirmed dead across Türkiye and Syria, with the numbers expected to rise. The earthquake destroyed people's homes and local infrastructure. Relief items and supplies are pouring in. Search and rescue efforts are underway.

Journalists of Xinhua News Agency rushed to the epicenter and reported from the frontlines.

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter