Barbers fear for families after huge earthquake devastates Turkey

Ahmet and Fevzi, from Dundee, have been frantically trying to make contact with family and friends in Turkey.

Two men working at a barbers in Dundee are fearing for friends and relatives living in Turkey and Syria after a huge earthquake.

More than 2,300 people have died after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake toppled hundreds of buildings in the worst natural disaster to hit the region in a generation.

Buildings were flattened, and major aftershocks or new quakes, including one nearly as strong as the first, continued to rattle the region hours later.

Hundreds of people are still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers search mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.

Watching on in horror from their barber shop thousands of miles away in Dundee was Ahmet and Fevzi.

Ahmet Dalmir is originally from Gaziintep – the Turkish city at the epicentre of the first devastating quake – and spent Monday trying to contact family back home.

Rescue operations get underway across Turkey and Syria following earthquake (ITN).

He told STV News: “It’s devastating. It’s one of the worst earthquakes in a century.

“Thankfully my family are okay at the moment, but the city itself is absolutely destroyed.

“We are waiting to see if friends of mine and their families have passed away or survived. It’s just heartbreaking and hard to describe.

“I’m worried about every person I’ve known in my life over there. It’s hard to contact them.

“I would have wanted to be there to do anything to help others, but no one can enter or exit the city. Knowing I can’t do anything hurts the most.

“It’s like a war zone at the moment. No one can do anything other than pray and wait.”

Meanwhile, Fevzi Turkmen’s family live Kahramanmaras – a city now unrecognisable after being caught in the middle of the two massive tremors.

He said his mum was struck in the head by debris falling from the ceiling of their home.

Ahmet and Fevzi have been trying to contact friends and family.

He said: “My mum is scared and I tried to comfort her, but you can’t do that from a distance.

“My parents are both fine and stayed the night in a car just outside.

“I tried to phone my cousin where the second earthquake was, but I couldn’t get through to him. I’m worried about him and his family – he has two kids.”

He added: “It’s heartbreaking to see the place where you were born and grew up in that situation, and the people as well.

“I couldn’t recognise the place. I know those areas very well, but everything is smashed. I wish I could go and help. I’m speechless.”

More than 2,000 have been killed and thousands more injured in the earthquake.

On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold winter’s night.

Nearly 1,500 people were killed in ten Turkish provinces, with some 8,500 injured, according to the president of the country’s disaster management agency.

The death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed past 430 people, with some 1,280 injured, according to the health ministry.

In the country’s rebel-held north-west, groups that operate there said the death toll was at least 380, with many hundreds more injured.

A huge search and rescue operation is continuing as work to save those trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings continues.

UK foreign secretary James Cleverly said the government would be sending “immediate support”, with a team of 76 search-and-rescue specialists, equipment and four search dogs being sent to Turkey.

Fevzi fears for his home city.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: “My thoughts are with the people of Turkey and Syria this morning, particularly with those first responders working so valiantly to save those trapped by the earthquake.

“The UK stands ready to help in whatever way we can.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “My thoughts are with people in Turkey and Syria – and those from both countries living here in Scotland who may be desperately worried about loved ones – following the devastating earthquake earlier today.”

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