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The children of the earthquakes – one year on

This article was written for Fethiye Times by Bee Harrison. Photos by Bee Harrison.

Today marks the first anniversary of double earthquakes which hit Southern Türkiye and Syria, on the early morning of the 6th February 2023, a morning that changed thousands of lives forever.

We made a visit to the area post earthquake: “We decided to visit four weeks after the earthquakes when the family were able to cope better, they were still sleeping outside and still frightened of a further quake. Whilst waiting to visit them, I decided to raise awareness of what was happening on social media via various charities and international agencies. This information gave insight into the affected areas through stories about our past visits to the beautiful historical UNESCO areas of Southeast Türkiye.”

You can read our account of a visit to Adıyaman here:

Forward to 2024

It seems strangely unbefitting to call it an anniversary when more than 50,000 people lost their lives and more than 107,000 were injured. Writing this seems more difficult than the initial first visit we made.

So what of hope for the future? The loss of family, friends, homes, livelihood, and cities which have disappeared is overwhelming. Whilst it almost appears insensitive to bring attention to it all again, it is good reminder to the world of the ongoing emergency situation affecting the people of this area of Türkiye, drawing attention to facts and information after the news has moved on.

With a very personal interest for both Özlem Warren, the author of Özlem’s Turkish Table, whose hometown of Antakya (Hatay) and our family’s hometown of Adıyaman which were ripped apart by the earthquakes, we soon learned that people and our relatives were frightened and confused amid the wreckage and debris. Turkish and international rescue crews, when they finally reached the areas, worked around the clock, heroically trying to save those trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Freezing temperatures added to the cost of lives and the survivors stories were heart wrenching. The devastation was not just confined to city areas, driving along rural roads, we saw miles of destruction, which was endless. Approximately 680,000 homes were destroyed in the earthquake zone, one million tents were sent to the region, creating “tent cities” -amid freezing weather – for survivors, some of which are still their homes today. At the moment 215,224 containers make up 414 container cities providing temporary shelter (Source Daily Sabah). Aid eventually reached the area, feeding stations, clean water systems and medical care were all put in place, housing units are being rebuilt.

Özlem donated all proceeds from sales of her book in Türkiye to our ongoing donations, we still continue to raise funds together and we will be marking the year anniversary with ‘well being gifts’ for children in both area’s of Antakya and Adıyaman.

In Antakya one university’s book department was unfortunately destroyed, we have now donated monies to cover supplying invaluable books for 60 students.

In Adıyaman area we shall organize a party and gifts for ‘National Sovereignty and Children’s Day’ 23rd April 2024 to the children who are still occupying tent cities, previously visited by ourselves. The children love the atmosphere of celebration. They can draw pictures of their experiences, play, receive treats and dress up to celebrate this special day, something many children take for granted under normal circumstances. These children suffer from PTSD, separation anxiety, they still fear further earthquakes and it will take time to return to any kind of normality,

Aftershocks in the region continue, it is part of their daily life to cope with what has become part of their daily lives. Rising inflation, a nationwide housing crisis, and the mental trauma that these people have suffered – with associated illnesses requiring therapy and treatment – will be ongoing for a few years to come.  

We will update you on our April 2024 donations, thank you to my sister in law Songül Bozkurt and Hadice Nalçabasmaz for their invaluable assistance.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book is still available to purchase for delivery within Türkiye.

If you wish to help please contact, Beatrice Bozkurt at: 



We look forward to hearing from you and we thank and appreciate all of you who have donated so far, contributing to the care of the children.

“Children are the assurance of our future, they are our joy of life. It is our human duty to raise today’s children as tomorrow’s adults.” – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

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