More pets rescued from rubble

More pets rescued from rubble

Burak Emek- Serhat Özdemir- DİYARBAKIR
More pets rescued from rubble

In a heartwarming incident, when rescue efforts fell short, people nearby mobilized to save eight cats in Türkiye’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır from the rubble of a partially damaged building undergoing demolition works.

Located in Diyarbakır’s Yenişehir district, the 4-block Galeria Sitesi, the first four floors of which were a shopping mall and eight floors of which consisted of 128 flats, sustained major damage during the earthquakes.

A total of 89 people lost their lives and 22 people were injured in Galeria Sitesi, and it was decided that the complex should be demolished.

The demolition of the mall and the blocks started in the morning hours of Feb. 23. The work was stopped around 3 p.m. due to cats that were noticed to be inside the buildings.

When the search and rescue efforts with drones and cranes did not yield any results, two helicopters of the Turkish Armed Forces arrived in Diyarbakır from another southeastern province of Şırnak’s Silopi district.

The personnel were lowered from one of the helicopters standing above the Galeria Sitesi with the help of a rope, but they could not reach the cats.

The search and rescue volunteers, who were taken to the floor where the cats were found, caught the cat named “Zena” and pulled her out of the rubble after seven hours. Zena was handed over to the Diyarbakır Bar Association’s animal rights center to get it checked.

At around 4 a.m. on Feb. 23, the cat named “Jahrettin” was rescued and delivered to its owner, Ezra Elbistan.

Elbistan embraced her cat in tears. The cat was taken to the animal care and rehabilitation center for a health check.

“They rescued Jahrettin with great effort. I would like to thank the authorities here. They really gave me great support. I got my cat back. He is in good health,” Elbistan said.

“We try to save animals just like we try to save humans,” said the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) volunteer who rescued the cat.

Diyarbakır Municipality Deputy Secretary General Veysel Kızılay announced that eight cats were rescued alive, while seven of them were reunited with their owners.

Stating that they are trying to reach the owner of one of the cats, Kızılay said: “It might be a stray cat. We will adopt him as Diyarbakır Municipality. We hope to get the rest of the animals out safely.”

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