The 7.2-magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey Sunday continues to cause damage and destruction as rescue workers fight to save lives of people caught under the rubble.
It has been reported that as of now, at least 432 people have died from earthquake related damage and over 1,000 people have been injured from the quake that rattled one of Turkey’s poorest regions.
The worst damage from the quake occurred near the town of Ercis, close to the Iranian border.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located near the Turkish border with Iraq and aftershocks, as large as 6.0-magnitude, continued for 10 hours after the initial quake.
Around 2,262 buildings have collapsed as a result of the earthquake and have left thousands of people homeless.
Victims from the quake are speaking out against the Turkish government, arguing that officials have failed to secure emergency services and aid in a time sensitive manner and the near-freezing temperatures are not making the conditions easier on those that have lost everything.
“We have no tents, everybody is living outdoors. Van has collapsed psychologically. Tens of thousands are on the streets. Everybody is in panic,” said Kemal Balci, a construction worker and resident of the devastated city of Van, Reuters reported.
Another victim told the news agency, “Life has become hell. We are outside, the weather is cold. There are no tents.”
The region rocked by the earthquake is mostly inhabited by Kurdish people, a minority group in Turkey that have for decades sought to have more autonomy within the Turkish state.
The extremist PKK has also carried out terrorist attacks in Turkey in a decades long separatist insurgency that has escalated in recent months.
Some of the Turkish media have used the disaster as an opportunity to call upon Turks to embrace reconciliation between the two groups and to extend a helping hand to Kurdish people as “natural catastrophes also make us equal as they do not distinguish between the rich and the poor or the Turk and the Kurd."
Christian missionaries in Turkey have urged Christians around the world to pray for victims of the earthquake and World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, put out an appeal for prayer for those injured and lost in the wake of the earthquake on its Facebook page.