Donate to Turkey
We are doing everything we can to help the victims of the terrible earthquake in Turkey. There is a great need for sanitation and shelter. Our colleague Rüstü has been helping on the ground. His stories are moving and have convinced us to start this action.
Will you also help and complete our donation? Together with Rüstü, we will make sure that the full amount reaches local initiatives providing aid in the disaster area.
The personal story of Rüstü
Rüstü tells what he experienced on the ground:
"On Monday, February 6, like many, I woke up to the terrible news from Turkey. A disaster of such magnitude and with so many victims and damage, I had never heard of it before. I could not believe my eyes and knew for sure that I wanted to personally help get people out of the rubble.
At Delta Team I work as a safety expert, but originally I am ex-military and have received search and rescue training. Through my network, together with a former colleague, I made direct contact with a rescue team. The commander of the rescue team was very enthusiastic, but also clear: "Men, the damage is of unprecedented magnitude here, your deployment is on your own responsibility and on your own resources. Transportation is not available and the roads are closed, if you can save yourselves, you are welcome. Good luck." Not a word more or less and he hung up.
Together with my buddy, we packed our backpacks and flew directly from Düsseldorf airport to Kayseri. From there we took the bus to Adana. There we first saw the large amount of damaged and collapsed buildings and the numerous emergency services. It was only then that the magnitude really began to dawn on us.
By now it was 00:00 and last minute we found a packed bus to take to Iskenderun. Once there, it looked like a war zone: the bus station no longer existed, roads were closed due to collapsed buildings and everywhere were people who had lit fires to warm up (by now it was -5 degrees). We had 66 km to go, the last and most difficult part. Nothing was driving so we had to hitchhike with others three times to cover a mountainous 50km.
We drove right through villages and small towns. Everywhere there were people under the rubble hoping to be rescued. It looked like a ghost town, not a person in sight, just people under the rubble.
The last bit we walked with our packs to the camp of the rescue team. There we were warmly welcomed by the commander. He advised us to get something to eat and get some sleep. But, despite the long journey, we did not want this and indicated immediate deployment.
The rescue work
In downtown Antakya, I could not believe my eyes: not a building was left standing, everything had collapsed. In one fell swoop, people had lost their lives, loved ones, homes and possessions. Nothing at all left. Survivors waited hopelessly beside the rubble for help. Corpses lay everywhere, from young to old.
We set off in two groups to rescue people and also to connect with residents and victims as interpreters. There were many more victims than rescue workers present, so the emergency services had to prioritize. As a team, we tried to save lives and fortunately we did. But we wanted to help everyone and unfortunately that was not possible. I personally had to inform survivors that their loved ones had died. Emotions ran very high, including my own....
Shelter is now the most important thing
Meanwhile, I am back in the Netherlands. We are two weeks on and the earthquakes continue. International relief agencies have been partially withdrawn and people have to survive in the cold. The main needs for survivors at the moment are shelter in the form of a container house or a tent and sanitation. That is why I am trying to collect aid."