Turks rally to help quake victims

Turks rally to help quake victims

Turks rally to help quake victims

The small, elderly woman in a white headscarf leans on a stick and holds up a wad of bills: 13,000 Turkish liras ($690) for the country's earthquake victims. She made the money by selling her cow.

Sarigül Kaçan, a 70-year-old woman from Akyaka, a town on Türkiye's eastern border with Armenia, represents the solidarity shown by Turks to victims of last week's 7.8-magnitude tremor, which has killed 36,187 in the country's southeast.

Millions of people are without homes, jobs and possessions, but fellow citizens are doing everything they can to help.

Turkish news channels broadcast breathless coverage of people packing boxes of food, clothes and essentials to deliver to survivors.

"I sold my cow and I will give the money to the district governor for the good of those who were killed and who were underneath the rubble," Kacan told local media.

Other Turkish villagers have sold their precious cattle too.

In the eastern province of Erzurum where an earthquake killed around 1,500 people in 1983, Nazime Kılıç sold the bull she "raised with (her) own two hands" for the equivalent of $1,220.

The 1983 tremor survivor gave the money to Türkiye's disaster agency, DHA news reported.

"I have eight children. I told them: help as much as you can," the elderly woman said.

Sakine Tanrıkulu, who was raising her calf in central Anatolia for a Muslim pilgrimage, sold it without hesitation. As did Gülper Tosun in western Türkiye, who gave up her "favourite calf". They raised $960 each.

Another Erzurum quake survivor, Cafer Güneş, gave around $2,120, money he had been saving up for a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Across the country of 85 million, women heat up ovens to produce hundreds of warm, fluffy bread loaves every day and send them to grateful survivors.

Sadullah Sezer sold his car for around $5,000 to send to the disaster agency.

"I wanted to help the state," he said. "I am happy to sell my car to help those in need," he told local media.

In the northwestern Bursa province, Serkenaz knits "non-stop" to produce jumpers for the survivors.

"It is so cold there and knitted products keep people warm," she said.

In Elbistan, near the quake's epicentre in Kahramanmaraş province, the temperature plunges to minus 15 degrees Celsius (five degrees Fahrenheit) at night.

The kindness is extended to foreign rescue teams.

"They stopped us on the road to offer us food and they won't let us pay," tweeted a Spanish civil security team with a photo of a hot meal.