Margate couple desperate for news on loved-ones missing in Turkey after earthquake destroys flats

  • ITV News Meridian's James Dunham speaks to Linda Oflazogle and her husband Mithat who have been left in despair after their loved ones were caught up in the two powerful earthquakes which struck Turkey this week

A couple from Margate in Kent say they are desperate for news of loved ones caught up in two powerful earthquakes in Turkey.

Linda Oflazogle and her husband Mithat are in despair as a family friend, her sister, a mother and her five-year-old son are missing.

It’s believed they are under the rubble of their eight-storey apartment block in the city of Antakya which was destroyed in the quakes and devastating aftershocks early on Monday morning.

Phone signal is almost non-existent in some parts and the couple is pleading for more support to reach the area.

Serpil with her son and Linda

”She (Serpil) is my best friend, we’ve known each other for 30 years and we speak to each other every day almost”, says Linda.

“I am praying for her. We hardly had any sleep last night. I don’t want to think negatively, we want to think positively.”

Mithat says: “We’re worried about her because as time goes on it’s becoming more desperate because of the temperature. It’s been 35 hours.

“We need expert help, professionals, logistical help, medical help, people who can help lift the rubble.”

Around 45,000 have died since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey on February 6 Credit: @mehmetyetim63/PA

The frantic race is underway to find more survivors and help the injured as the death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday passed 6,000.

Turkey's disaster management agency said more than 24,400 emergency personnel were now on the ground, while teams of rescue workers from nearly 30 countries have been sent to Turkey or Syria.

Three firefighters from Kent Fire and Rescue have been deployed too.

However, officials have warned that more is needed to help search the vast area affected by Monday's earthquake.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian effort from people in southern England is just beginning.

Donations are being collected by Serpil and Stephen Fenning Credit:

Serpil and Stephen Fenning are collecting donations and are encouraging people to drop off essential items to the Aspendos chain of Turkish restaurants across Kent.

Serpil's cousin in Turkey is safe but her husband is missing while Stephen also has friends who've been directly impacted by the disaster.

Serpil said: "It's just scary, we don't know if they are alive or not. It's just so sad and they really need our help.

"I wish I was there to help but because I have a little baby I can't really travel."

Stephen added: "Family members are all living in one house at the moment.

"You have a local community all moving to one house like a bungalow almost because they are afraid to go into even a three-storey building because of all the tremors.

"They feel cut off. You know, they don't have access.

"We are a nation of humanitarians and I think we rally around many, many, many disasters.

"I think this is one of the disasters that I think we should definitely rally around and support the people of Turkey."

Turkey sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes.

Monday's earthquake occurred along the East Anatolian Fault which was largely inactive during the 20th century but was responsible for devastating earthquakes in 1822 and 1872, according to Dr Roger Musson, an honorary research associate at the British Geological Survey.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the death toll from the powerful earthquake could reach as high as 10,000 people.

Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at University College London, said the earthquake was "by far the largest quake ever recorded in this region".

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