A call made by the Honorary Consul of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in Turkey, Julia Gunn, has yielded a favourable response with over a dozen Vincentians reaching out to indicate that they survived two deadly earthquakes.
On February 6, southeastern Turkey and northern Syria were struck by a violent 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks which has left thousands dead and caused large-scale infrastructural damage.
Honorary Consul Gunn told SEARCHLIGHT that since the request for Vincentians to make contact with the office was made last Friday, February 10, nationals reached out to confirm that they were safe.
“I am glad to report that all 15 Vincentian nationals who are registered with me have been in contact and are safe. With the statement sent out on Instagram, another Vincentian also got into contact with me and is also safe.”
She revealed that one Vincentian national, along with their family, who were located in Hatay Province were forced to evacuate.
The province, located in the south of Turkey, is one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquakes.
“I managed to contact them within 24 hours after the earthquake. At that time they were still in the city of Hatay but managed to get a bus out of the city. This was extremely lucky as the roads themselves were badly damaged…. They are now with relatives in another city,” Gunn related.
The Honorary Consul added that the national was strongly advised “not to return to his apartment until it has been rendered safe by the relevant government institution”.
She also said the disaster has underscored the importance of nationals updating contact information and addresses with the Consulate.
“An important point is that all Vincentians should kindly make sure they update us regularly if they change addresses. As we see, this was vital in this disaster with being able to either contact them directly or have an emergency contact number in which to do so.”
Just over a week since the earthquakes, the death toll in Turkey had climbed to over 31,000 persons and the number of those injured stood at around 158,000 as of Monday, February 13.
Videos have been circulating on social media showing crumbled buildings with search and rescue teams working to free people, including small children and babies from the rubble.
Persons wishing to contribute to the relief effort are advised to send donations to the Turkish Red Cross ( Kizilay) using the following link www.kizilay.org.tr or the Earthquake Humanitarian Aid Campaign – https://en.afad.gov.tr/earthquake-campaign.