Exclusive

'Beyond a nightmare': British aid teams 'feel helpless' working in 'disaster movie conditions' after Turkey-Syria earthquake

9 February 2023, 15:58 | Updated: 9 February 2023, 16:01

Over 17,000 have died after the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Over 19,000 have died after the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Picture: World Care Foundation

By Alan Zycinski

British aid workers on the ground in Turkey "feel helpless" working in "disaster movie" conditions as they help children who've lost their parents and homes.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Volunteers from humanitarian charities have travelled to devastated towns there and in Syria after Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Around 20,000 people are already known to have died with hundreds more buried underneath rubble of collapsed buildings in freezing temperatures.

The city of Antakya marked the epicentre of what's now the deadliest seismic event in more than a decade, where Shahad Aziz from the World Care Foundation's Edinburgh branch is working.

Around 20,000 have died after the Turkey-Syria
Around 20,000 have died after the Turkey-Syria. Picture: World Care Foundation
British aid workers say they feel "helpless"
British aid workers say they feel "helpless" as they help those in Syria. Picture: World Care Foundation

Read More: US accuses the Chinese military of being behind vast aerial spy programme

Read More: Ben Wallace says no fighter jets in short term as Ukraine's president goes to Europe

"It's like the city of the dead," she told LBC. "It's hard to actually describe what we're seeing here. It's heart-breaking. You almost feel helpless.

"You've got building after building that's collapsed totally. There's no power, no water, no heating. It's like something out of a movie."

Around 1,000 rescuers from around the world, including 76 from the UK, are helping local teams searching rubble.

It was in Antakya where a "miracle nine-year-old girl" was pulled uninjured from rubble after being trapped for 60 hours.

But Akeel Umar, also there from the World Care Foundation's Edinburgh branch, said many more haven't been saved.

"We saw a child wandering about because his parents and family didn't make it," Mr Umar said.

"There's so many children out there in a similar position. We have people sleeping in their cars, in the streets because where else can they go?

"Many of them don't want to leave sites because their loved ones are buried there. While there is a lot of search going on for survivors, there are unfortunately a lot of bodies.

"We unfortunately saw a father and son buried together. I will never forget that sight Nightmare isn't a word that would even describe this. It's like a nuclear blast that's happened."

British workers in Syria have described conditions as like being from a "disaster movie"
British workers in Syria have described conditions as like being from a "disaster movie". Picture: World Care Foundation

The UK's Disasters Emergency Committee has launched an appeal to help get aid to the millions of people affected. You can find out more about the World Care Foundation's work here.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Exclusive
Just Stop Oil could disrupt holidaymakers this summer

Holidaymakers face being blocked from boarding planes by Just Stop Oil at British airports this summer

Defence Secretary John Healey

Defence Secretary warns scale of issues facing British Army ‘much worse’ than previously feared

Dramatic footage on social media showed the blaze

Wildfires ravage Portuguese region loved by British holidaymakers

Mother of jailed Just Stop Oil campaigner complains daughter will miss brother's wedding after she blocked M25

Mother of jailed Just Stop Oil campaigner complains daughter will miss brother's wedding after she blocked M25

Rene Graham was killed on Sunday July 21

Teen victim of west London park shooting named and pictured for the first time

Kamala Harris has praised Joe Biden

Kamala Harris pays tribute to 'unmatched' legacy of Joe Biden, as Nancy Pelosi backs her for president run

Police said they attended the residence at Wexford Road, Coventry at around 12.15pm on Monday following an emergency 999 call

Woman in her 30s killed after being mauled by pet dog at home in Coventry

Secret Service boss Kimberly Cheatle denied claims she failed to provide Trump with adequate protection.

'We failed': Secret service boss brands Donald Trump shooting 'most significant failure in decades'

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

Anand Runwal jumped in front of the train to try to save his children

Pictured: Hero father who jumped in front of train to try to save his twin daughters, whose pushchair rolled onto tracks

The moment a sexual predator lured a 14-year-old schoolgirl to a guesthouse where he later raped her has been caught on camera.

Chilling footage captures sex predator luring schoolgirl, 14, to guesthouse before raping her after plying teen with alcohol

Migrants heading to Britain. Home Secretary Yvette cooper today revealed the scheme cost £700m and saw only four volunteers sent to Africa

Rwanda deportation scheme cost £700m and saw just four volunteers sent to Africa, Home Secretary reveals

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Strictly pro dancer Janette Manrara breaks her silence following claims by former contestant Will Bayley

Strictly dancer Janette Manrara breaks silence following contestant's 'life-changing' injury claims

President of Croatia Zoran Milanović described the attack as a "savage unprecedented crime".

Several killed as gunman opens fire in Croatian care home

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene in Ladbroke Grove

Gunman 'jumped from bushes to assassinate 15-year-old boy' on 'family fun day' at west London park