Hatay, debris, discrimination...

  • 11:22 13 February 2023
  • News
Gülistan Dursun
HATAY - One of the Syrians living in Hayat, one of the cities most affected by the earthquake, was asked where she was from while she was waiting to be rescued under the rubble.  Another said, "AFAD does not give tents because we are Syrians."
Hatay is one of the provinces where destruction was most severe in the earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 on February 6, the epicenter of which was Mereş Bazarcix (Pazarcık) and Elbistan districts and affected 10 provinces. There are still thousands of citizens under the rubble. The earthquake affected Kurds, Turks, Arabs and dozens of people we cannot count, regardless of language, religion or race. The fire fell on everyone's house. However, the falling fire burned the homes of Syrian citizens who fled the war and took refuge in Turkey even more deeply. With the images published about the "Loot" and "Theft" incidents, it is desired to make another "scapegoat" of Syrian citizens, together with a few contractors. It is very clear that people want to take their anger out on the Syrians against the government and those who have a great share in the destruction. The Syrians, who have already faced many difficulties in their normal lives, were left in the middle of a difficult process with the earthquake. It is not clear where they will be taken if they experience such a disaster in a land they do not belong to. I will share my testimonies to the experiences of Syrians during my stay in Hatay.
'AFAD did not give tents because we are Syrians'
We witness the tents that a group of health professionals and search and rescue teams built with their own means, right next to their demolished houses on the streets where aid did not go. While some are waiting for their relatives under the rubble in this way, others are trying to put their lives in order again. We can see that they are like this in many neighborhoods we go to. When we ask if there is anything missing, a 9-10 year old boy answers, "AFAD did not give us a tent because we are Syrians." Another citizen stated that the headman distributed the aid to his relatives and that they did not have any aid materials.
Syrians are isolated
They are also experiencing difficulties in the center of AFAD, which is located far from the city, in front of the gym. We come across how someone who timidly enters the tea line is dismissed by saying "You are Syrian, you have a disease." In addition, we are faced with the fact that in the tent city established by AFAD, Syrians are rushed to another neighbourhood by being "stuck" on buses, and they are trying to be "isolated" from the right.
I'm from Syria...
A health worker, who does not want to share his name, tells about the conversation the health worker had in an ambulance with a Syrian child who was pulled from the rubble. The child, who was pulled out of the wreckage four days later, tells the health personnel in the ambulance that he called out and there was a voice in response to his voice, but the person who gave the voice was asked where are you from and when he answered, "Come, let's go, let's not waste time".