A Nova Scotia family is worried about their loved ones in Turkey who survived the earthquake but are now left scrambling to find safety.
Aid efforts are on their third day after the powerful earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria on Monday. Concerns continue to mount as survivors search for shelter and support, while the death toll keeps climbing.
Omar Antebi says he’s fearful his family in Turkey will not be able to find safe shelter after surviving the deadly earthquake.
He and his sister are keeping a close watch on their phones for updates. Dozens of their family members are now living on the streets including children and their grandparents.
Their homes were lost when the quake turned buildings into rubble.
“They’re experiencing the cold. The temperature is dropping below zero,” Omar says.
“They have no food to feed the children. Nothing over their heads. And there’s no money.”
Majda says they’re also having a hard time accessing safe drinking water. She says they’re scared.
“They fear losing their children or losing one of my grandparents because both of my grandparents are ill,” Majda says.
Omar and his sister are from Syria and immigrated with their parents to Canada in 2016. Many of their family members are now living in Turkey as refugees.
The siblings say that puts them on the bottom of the list for aid, including tents.
“Turkey didn’t have any wars,” explains Majda. “People flee from Syria to Turkey to feel safe and right now they’re not treated equally and they’re not safe.”
Omar adds the city of Gaziantep is almost impossible to reach.
“The ground has been torn apart,” he says. “Cars can’t get through because there is a big hole … In order to get them food and resources they need a helicopter or a plane.”
He and Majda are calling on the federal government to fast-track immigration into Canada for the survivors.
“To help us bring them here and unite with us here in Canada because they think they’re going to die there without seeing us,” he says.
Omar says Nova Scotians can help too by calling on MLAs to act.
International aid and rescue teams have been rushing into the region to help.
Canada has pledged $10 million to Syria and Turkey and the Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations to deliver immediate emergency relief.
Rescue teams have been facing tough terrain while searching for survivors amid frigid temperatures and thousands of toppled buildings. They’re also encountering isolated areas due to Syria’s ongoing civil war.