Hunger and cold in the ruins of the earthquake in Turkey

The streets are empty. The thermometer is slightly above 0ºC, but the thermal sensation is negative. No shops have opened in the vicinity yet.

It’s 5:55 a.m. and the first call to prayer is being sounded in Sanliurfa since Monday’s deadly earthquake. The day has barely begun in this city in southeastern Turkey, and hunger is already growing strong for many.

“Did you find bread?” asks an old man in a cap before continuing on his way.

The streets are empty. The thermometer is slightly above 0ºC, but the thermal sensation is negative. No trade in the neighborhood has yet opened its doors. None of them had bread on Monday evening.

100 meters away, behind the walls of the glamorous Hilton Hotel, where dozens of families have taken refuge after Monday’s deadly earthquake, the words ‘soup’ and ‘bread’ are on everyone’s lips.

A few children play, though most remain asleep, wrapped in hats and mittens. Many parents are already up or just haven’t slept through the night.

“We arrived here at 3 pm yesterday. The hotel gave us soup last night, but the night passed. We are hungry and so are the children,” 42-year-old Imam Çaglar told AFP.

“The bakeries will be closed today, I don’t know how we will get bread,” worries the father of three children.


She doesn’t even think about bringing groceries from her house a few streets away, fearing the incessant responses.

“We live on the first floor of three. We are very afraid to go back,” he admits, shaking his head. “Our building is not safe at all,” he adds.

“Soup Cup”

“We get a small cup of soup, it’s not enough,” complains 56-year-old Mehmed Childe, who has six children, who is waiting for food to be distributed by the municipality.

“But we have no information, nothing,” he says.


Filiz Chifchi missed yesterday’s soup distribution, a little further down the avenue.

A mother and her three children who fled their apartment in the middle of the night on Monday with three blankets and phones would rather skip lunch than wait in the wind and freezing rain.

“We only had tea and coffee last night, that’s all,” laments the 30-year-old, dressed in lilac and veiled, sitting near the hotel bathrooms.

He does not know whether the children will have enough to eat this Tuesday or in the next few days. “For now, we have nothing but our blankets,” she says.


He stops and continues. “At least the water will be drinkable here.”

© Agence France-Presse


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