Workers search for personal belongings under rubble of buildings destroyed in İzmir quake
After the wreckage of the buildings destroyed in the İzmir earthquake on Oct. 30 last year was moved to another location, teams have begun a search to collect the personal belongings of the earthquake victims to safely return them to their rightful owners.
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Seferihisar district of the western province of İzmir on Oct. 30, killing 116 people.
The rubble of the apartments destroyed in the earthquake was transported to a storage area in the Menemen district with 1,200 trucks, following the end of the rescue operation to save injured people.
Police teams started guarding alongside the rubble, including the belongings of the earthquake victims in the buildings.
The Environment and Urbanization Ministry has opened a tender for the removal of the wreckage, and the firm that won the tender assigned 20 workers to the remove the rubble.
Accompanied by the police officers during their shifts, the workers hand over the items they find such as photo albums, purses, gold bags, toys, clothes, phones, letters and even war medals to a police station.
The process to collect the items is quite overwhelming emotionally for workers as each item taken to the tent hold immense sentimental value as they once belonged to the loved ones of the earthquake victims.
“Parents who lost their children in the earthquake want us to show us their toys from their phones and find them in the rubble. When our friends find those toys, they sit down and cry,” said Coşkun Cihangir, the coordinator leading the workers.
Aware of the responsibility on their shoulders, the workers wander around the wreckage, collect items meticulously, and later clean and put each one on shelves.
Cihangir said that there were also large amounts of money, gold and jewelry among the rubble so far.
Stressing that there is a serious seismic activity in the Aegean Sea, Hasan Sözbilir, an academic from Dokuz Eylül University, underlined that the earthquakes in the region took place in a way that triggered each other.
“We have faults such as Tuzla, Gülbahçe and Seferihisar on the falling block of the Samos Fault. These also carry the danger of being triggered,” Sözbilir added.
Sözbilir also drew attention to the fact that the faults in İzmir can produce 7.2-magnitude earthquakes.