“My husband’s youngest brother, his wife, her mum, dad, brother and sister have all died in the earthquake. It’s hard for people to understand the true scale of this devastation and just how long any recovery will take.”
Walsall Community Nurse Emma Ozdemir is trying to comfort her devastated husband Seyhmus as best she can as her family tries to come to terms with unimaginable loss in the wake of Monday’s earthquake affecting south-eastern Turkey near its border with Syria.
Emma, an Advanced Clinical Practitioner who has been with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for 25 years, said to lose so many family members, as well as the family home, was “impossible to get your head around.”
“My husband owns a wine bar in the Jewellery Quarter and was skyping his family into the early hours on Monday as he usually does but several hours afterwards heard about the earthquake followed by another one. It’s so hard to even have a slight understanding of just how awful this is,” said the mother-of-two.
“My husband is one of ten and he has lost his youngest brother, his wife, her mum, dad, brother and sister. His family home just dropped like a concertina, completely destroyed. One of our nephews is a businessman and he has been able to secure a bunker for the women and children while the men join in with the rescue efforts, desperately hoping to be able to pull people alive from all the rubble.
“It’s impossible to get your head around such a massive loss of life – thousands have died and so many families are in the same position as ours, feeling numb with shock about it all. I don’t think people can really appreciate the true scale of this devastation – it is going to take so many years to recover the physical landscape but the emotional recoveries will last a lifetime.
“The weather isn’t helping as there’s intermittent snow showers too at the moment – imagine having to try to cope with this on top of everything else.”
Emma, who works in the South and West Locality Community Nursing/Complex Case Management Team, met Seyhmus in Turkey, and her husband came to live in England in 2005. They have sons Baran, 16, and Roni, 15
“Seyhmus has cascaded emails to businesses in his area to help with relief that is being sent out via the Turkish Embassy and I’d like to urge everyone to support any appeals they can too please,” she said. “People have literally nothing. They need clothes, blankets, food and drink. Our family was lucky enough to receive food and drink earlier this week and we are so grateful. It is just beyond words how people are suffering.”
The following organisations are offering help: