Antakya: One year on from the devastating earthquake a city of rubble and grief remains

On February 6, 2023, an earthquake tore through Antakya, killing 55,000 and leaving more than a million people homeless, ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy reports from Turkey

In the graveyard outside Antakya every one of the thousands of headstones bears the same date.

February 6, 2023 is etched in the marble as firmly as in the national psyche.

There are few events that inflict harm on people at the very same moment, even war wreaks its hell at different times.

However, 4.17am on February 6 is a moment of shared, enduring trauma.

In the space of 80 seconds the 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed lives and cities.

A year on the devastation it wrought continues. In total, 55,000 people died. 1.5 million were left homeless.

Antakya was the worst hit. 20,000 died here, hundreds of thousands now live in tiny prefabricated containers.

At least in the containers they do not have the fear their homes will collapse upon them once more.

Those they loved and lost, their homes and their city are now memories. Some have still not recovered the bodies of their dead.

A man rides a bicycle past destroyed buildings in Antakya, southeastern Turkey Credit: AP

Even those who knew the ancient city well would struggle to navigate it now.

In the past months the bulldozers have knocked down street after street. Such was the damage, repair was impossible.

There is a mixed view of the government response, often dependent on political loyalty, however few fail to appreciate the scale of the challenge.

Antakya, which stood through millennia, is gone. It will be rebuilt on the same land but without the soul and souls which made it one of Turkey’s most beloved cities.

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