Turkish student living in Stockton worried for family after losing 16 relatives in earthquake

Abdulah Sagir is worried about his family members in Turkey following the recent earthquakes. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News/ Handout

A man has described the horror of what has happened in Turkey after losing 16 relatives in the recent earthquakes.

Abdulah Sagir, who is a mature student living in the North East, told ITV Tyne Tees he was struggling to believe what had happened.

Mr Sagir, who said three other family members are currently missing in the rubble, also described how his mother had been pulled from the wreckage of a collapsed hospital, where she had been receiving treatment before the quakes.

He said: "My uncle, his daughter and son, my other uncle and his son have died and my neighbour’s two daughters have died. They are very close (to me). 

"There are three who are under the buildings, but we don’t know if they live or not but the weather conditions are also very bad. 

“It's very difficult for the rescuers to help find them.”

The house of one of Mr Sagir's family members, damaged in the earthquake. Credit: Handout

A powerful 7.8 magnitude quake rocked south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday 6 February at approximately 4am.

The tremors from the earthquake, which was centred about 60 miles from the Syrian border, just north of the city of Gaziantep, were felt as far away as Cairo in Egypt.

Less than ten hours later, at about 1:30pm local time, another earthquake hit around 80 miles from the first epicentre.

The current death toll is more than 5,000 and authorities fear the death toll will keep climbing.

Mr Sagir, who lives in Stockton, is from the city of Adiyaman in Turkey, which is around 68 miles North East of the original earthquakes's epicentre in the city of Gaziantep.

His mother was being treated in hospital before the earthquake happened. His nephew rescued her from the building as it had collapsed.

He said: "She was in hospital but now she has moved to the village because power lines are off and have been damaged. They stay in cars or tents waiting for help. 

“They called in the morning, my brother's daughter did. She stayed with my mum and when the earthquake happened my nephew rescued her from the building because it had collapsed.

“I haven’t spoken to her (my mum) yet because I can’t reach them because the network doesn’t work.

“It’s not easy, it’s very difficult, I feel very bad about the pain for the people in my country.”

The house of one of Mr Sagir's family, damaged in the earthquake. Credit: Handout

Mr Sagir's family are now staying in temporary accommodation, in his childhood village of Yenikoy, till they can find more stable places to lives.

He said the help needed for the country are not yet known as the damage is so widespread.

He added: "If people help I will be happy. It’s a terrible time.

"I can’t image how much help we need because many people have been lost.

"I feel very sad for my country."

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