Severe destruction in Alevi villages in Adiyaman
By Remzi Budancir and Refik Tekin
After the massive earthquakes that hit Turkey’s south, our teams have visited districts and villages of Adiyaman province, one of the work affected provinces in the region.
The destruction we see along the road route is striking. Garden walls have collapsed, roads are split in two, bridges have been destroyed in places. Everywhere, we encounter a wreck.
Although the destruction in the district centers in Kahta and Gerger is not very high, the destruction in the villages in rural areas is quite high. In every village along the route between Gerger and Celikhan, people were mourning because almost everyone lost a brother, uncle, cousin or other relative.
DESTRUCTION IN ALEVI VILLAGES
The destruction was especially great in the Alevi villages on the slopes of the high mountains between Adiyaman and Malatya. Two of these villages were Recep and Avasipi. Access to these villages was very difficult because Alevi villages always receive a lower percentage of services compared to other villages. The difficulties on the road we took to reach the village showed this very concretely. Rocks falling from the high mountains piled up on the road.
These were the villages where the greatest destruction took place. Almost all of the nearly 100 houses in Avaspi were destroyed and 11 people died. There are many wounded in the village. The 3-4 tents were put up, but not by AFAD. When we went to the village, there was no one from AFAD or any government official.
WRAPPED DEAD BODIES WITH TENTS
The earthquake on Monday night was a single tragedy. The roads were closed because of the heavy snowfall. The injured tried to recover the bodies of their loved ones from the rubble amid the snow and blizzard. They recovered the bodies of six people, but there were more. Desperately, they pulled the dead from the rubble, wrapped them in tents and laid them in the snow. As they returned to the destroyed houses to rescue those who lay under the rubble, wolves appeared. On the one hand, they tried to drive away the wolves, and on the other hand, they tried to save those who were lying under the rubble.
MANY CORPSES HAD NO ARMS OR LEGS
With the help of people from the surrounding villages, they pulled more dead bodies out of the rubble. Days passed and still no one came. As the snowfall continued, they could not bury their loved ones. Many corpses had no arms or legs. No one knows if the missing limbs were left in the wreckage or if they were taken away by wolves that appeared at night. After three days, the villagers were able to bring a bucket found in the next village and bury their bodies.
VILLAGERS ACCUSE THE GOVERNMENT OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ALEVIS
One of the villagers said they were being discriminated because they were Alevis:
“They do not support us because we do not vote for the AKP (Justice and Development Party.). (..) They didn't give us a tent, we couldn't get it. That's why all the families fled. I couldn't leave because I had three cows. I was looking for a pickup. I brought it here now. I want to load it on the truck and go with my family from here. I'm leaving this place."