Voices from Adiyaman, Türkiye

On 15 February, in collaboration with the Turkish Medical Association, a team from Médecins Sans Frontières donated various essential relief items to people affected by the earthquake in the city of Adiyaman in southern Türkiye.

The donated items – including hygiene kits, electrical stoves, winter undergarments, nappies and baby food – were distributed to more than 50 families at a newly established camp for earthquake survivors.

The city of Adiyaman, with a population of around 300,000, was one of the areas worst hit by the earthquake. Large numbers of buildings were damaged or are considered unsafe to return, leaving thousands of people sleeping in the open, in large camps, makeshift settlements or private cars.

As in other quake-affected areas, MSF teams are coordinating with various local organisations to provide assistance to survivors.

Ali: "I’ve lost everything I’d managed to collect throughout my entire life"
43 years old

“I’ve lost my whole house, I’ve lost the car. Our family of five are sleeping in a relative’s car. We’d lived in our house for 17 years – we built it ourselves. When the earthquake struck, I threw blankets over my children to try and protect them. They are six, eight and 12. The earthquake lasted for about two minutes. We waited for another minute until everything had stopped moving. Then we climbed down from the second floor through a hole that had opened up in the balcony. Some neighbours helped me get the children out. I’ve lost everything I’d managed to collect throughout my entire life. We are getting some aid from various places, but we urgently need a tent. Without any money, we can’t think of going anywhere else.”

Ali, 43 years old. © Igor Barbero/MSF

Nazlican: "Before the earthquake I was full of dreams"
22 years old

“I’m a student, studying English at university. Before the earthquake I was full of dreams. I wanted to do an Erasmus exchange to another country. But everything changed in the course of a few minutes that night. I can no longer study, and our situation now is very hard. 

I was asleep in a bedroom on the first floor of a three-storey building when it started to shake. I tried to protect my younger sister. When the shaking stopped, our mother joined us. We went out into the street. It was raining and it was very dark and cold. There were lots of aftershocks. We stayed in our car. I thought we were going to die. 

We have lost everything. We had a mortgage on this flat in Adiyaman. We had another house in a village near Malatya but it was destroyed too – my dad went to check on it. We’ve been living in this [shipping] container for 10 days. It’s a small space for the six of us, my parents and my three siblings.”

Nazlican, 22 years old. © Igor Barbero/MSF

Dilan: "Every now and then we get the feeling that the floor is shaking"
23 years old

“There are five of us: my mum, my dad, my two siblings and me. I was a cleaner at a hospital on the outskirts of the city. My house is just over there [30 metres away], but now we’re staying in this camp with other families from the neighbourhood. The house is completely destroyed.

First, we started to collect things we needed, then three days ago we moved in here. An organisation gave us this tent. All we want is to have a normal life again: to eat well, live in a warm place… 

We don’t have any plans to move. We wouldn’t know where to go because we have always lived in Adiyaman. What can we do? This is our place, our life.  

Now we spend our days not doing much: standing around, looking… and it’s very cold. Every now and then we get the feeling that the floor is shaking.”

Dilan, 23 years old. © Igor Barbero/MSF