On 6 February, a catastrophic series of earthquakes and aftershocks struck havoc in Turkey and Syria, causing deaths and casualties in the thousands. With the death toll still mounting, many countries, including India, have offered aid and dispatched rescue teams to affected areas. In the freezing cold, volunteers are working against time to rescue people and animals trapped under the rubble. Millions are awaiting aid while camping out in makeshift shelters, too afraid to re-enter their damaged homes.
The disaster is a double blow to Syrian refugees in Turkey, who are having to re-live the trauma of war in their homeland. Scenes that vascillate between hope and heartbreak are playing out across affected areas, with children and seniors bearing the fatal brunt of the disaster. Amid stories of uncontainable despair, however, is that of a newborn in Syria’s Jindeyris, rescued alive with her umblical cord still connected to her mother who did not survive the tragedy. As temperatures continue to dip in both countries, so will the number of survivors rescued, say experts. Time and aid are of essence, as are solidarity, compassion and political acumen.