Mayors of districts at quake's epicenter call for help

Mayors of districts at quake's epicenter call for help
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The districts of Defne and Samandag are left without electricity, and it's now even more difficult to find out if there are survivors under new rubbles and to carry out search and rescue operations.

Mayors of two neighboring districts that are at the epicenter of a Magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck on Monday evening in Turkey's southern border province of Hatay called for urgent support saying their resources have already been exhausted after the twin earthquakes on 6 February.

Defne Mayor Ibrahim Guzel said in a live broadcast that the district has been left without electricity after the quake at 08:04 PM and it has gotten even more difficult in the dark to make an assessment on the number of buildings that recently collapsed or received damage.

"Our municipality had 450 employees," he said. "We now have merely 20 left. 430 have been [direct or indirect] victims of the quakes on 6 February. We are calling for help. We have a population of 166,450, and half of the people left the district. We are facing problems in transportation. And note that this is not a predominantly urban area. Most of the people are farmers. We would suggest that instead of establishing tent camps, it would be better for people to set up tents in their own land. So we are in urgent need of tents."

Samandag Mayor Refik Eryilmaz also said in a broadcast that they were out of electricity after the latest earthquake, and that people were trying to flee the district in cars.

"Some severely or moderately damaged buildings have collapsed," he said. "We also received some reports that there may be people trapped under the rubble. We could not confirm that as we're in total darkness."

Eryilmaz similarly stressed the need for tents. "Nobody can persuade these people to go back to their houses now," he said. "People need tents, this is a problem that is yet to be solved. I'm asking the authorities to urgently provide shelter for people."