A student in Turkey was rescued from the rubble of a destroyed apartment building after he posted a video plea to WhatsApp following a deadly earthquake that has killed more than 20,000 in Turkey and Syria.
Boran Kubat, a 20-year-old student from Istanbul, was visiting family in Malatya when the deadly earthquake violently rocked the border between the two countries on Feb. 6. Kubat, his mother, grandmother and two uncles were on the second floor of the apartment building when it crumbled.
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Kubat filmed himself pinned by debris. In the video he shared to WhatsApp, there are tears in his eyes as he shares his location in hopes of being rescued.
“Whoever sees this WhatsApp status, please come and help,” he said in Turkish. “Please everyone come and rescue us now.”
He said in the video that his mother’s condition was OK, though he couldn’t hear his two uncles well.
After five to six hours in the rubble, Kubat was indeed rescued, according to Anadolu Agency.
“I had my phone with me, so I thought if I shared a video on social media, my friends could see it and they could reach us,” he told Anadolu. “They finally found us, me and my mother. They are now trying to rescue one of my uncles, but another uncle and my grandmother are still trapped.”
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It is unclear if Kubat’s grandmother and uncles were ultimately rescued from the fallen building.
Kubat isn’t the only person to use the internet or social media to call for help. Across the country, thousands of people have posted cries for rescue on various social media platforms.
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Firat Yayla, a Turkish YouTuber, shared an Instagram story pleading for his followers to save him, as per Al Jazeera.
“Friends, we are stuck under the earthquake,” Yayla, who was in the crumbled remains of a dark room, said in Turkish. He continued to plead for help and called out for his mother, who was also in the rubble.
Yayla later shared an update that he had been saved, but his mother was still under the concrete.
Another Turkish resident asked for help on Twitter, where he wrote that he, his wife and their infant were trapped in a hotel.
The family was later rescued by a friend who pulled them from the wreckage.
Kagan Sarikaya, a Turkish political scientist, created a map to track the confirmed locations of victims still awaiting help in Turkey’s Hatay province. Social media is a vital tool for the maintenance and upkeep of the map created by Sarikaya and his team.
Turkey’s president has called the overwhelming devastation caused by the earthquake “the disaster of the century.” Entire neighbourhoods of high-rise buildings have been reduced to twisted metal, crumbled concrete and exposed wires. The magnitude 7.8 quake has already killed more people than Japan’s Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011, with many more bodies yet to be recovered and counted.
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Temperatures remain below freezing across the expansive region and many people have no place to shelter. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but was still struggling to reach many people in need.
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Turkey’s disaster management agency said more than 20,000 people had been confirmed killed so far in Turkey, with nearly 75,000 injured. No figures have been released on how many have been left homeless, but the agency said more than 75,000 survivors have been evacuated to other provinces.
More than 3,300 people have been confirmed killed on the other side of the border in Syria.
— With files from the Associated Press
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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