Syrian earthquake survivor: ‘These cries are in my ear until now’
A Syrian survivor of the earthquake that struck near the border between Turkey and Syria said he has not been able to sleep from hearing the voices of people trapped in the rubble, saying that “these cries are in my ear until now.”
Abdulkafi Alhamdo, a teacher, told NBC “Today” host Hoda Kotb on Tuesday that his family survived the earthquake, but he was working with others to try to dig people out of the rubble. He said they could hear people’s voices and screams from the rubble but had limited tools to help people.
“I couldn’t sleep. These cries are in my ear until now. I couldn’t sleep at night because they are still in my ear,” he said.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing thousands and leveling hundreds of buildings. More than 5,000 people have been confirmed to have died, and the death toll is expected to rise.
Strong aftershocks continue to hit the region.
Search and rescue teams have been trying to save people trapped under rubble but have struggled to reach all the towns that were hit hard as the damage is spread over a wide area. The quake piled on another tragedy to the northern region of Syria, which has been in the midst of a civil war and refugee crisis for more than a decade.
Alhamdo said his daughter happened to come into his room with a toothache before the earthquake hit and asked him once the shaking started if it was an attack from the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“After it gets longer and stronger, I knew it’s not,” he said.
Alhamdo said he and his family tried to go outside but knew that there could be danger there. He said they ultimately chose to say at home and survived, but others were not as lucky.
He said knowing that people were so close to him but that he could not help them was “so difficult” for him and anyone to face. He said he has seen many people who survived the earthquake but did not have any place to go.
“We tried to give them whatever we can, but is that enough?” Alhamdo said.
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