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Turkey-Syria earthquake: Charity worker prepares ‘entire field hospital’

A UK charity is preparing to take medical supplies to areas of Turkey devastated by Monday’s earthquake.

More than 21,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria and the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned lack of shelter, water and electricity could kill many more.

UK Med is planning to send doctors and medical equipment within days.

Head of logistics Gemma Blakey, from Sunderland, is preparing to send an “entire field hospital” if necessary.

“The scale is huge,” she said.

“The immediate problem is pulling people out of the rubble but there’s also huge congregations of people not wanting to go back to their homes, a kind of refugee-style camp.”

The WHO has warned a secondary humanitarian disaster could harm more people than the initial quake.

Ms Blakey said it was “definitely one of the biggest” emergencies the charity had faced in recent times, in terms of geographical area as well as the number of people affected.

“The ripple effect of this will just go on and on,” she warned.

A number of families in County Durham who have lost relatives in the earthquake want to help other family members trying to survive the aftermath.

Suleyman Yildirim, from Stanley, knows some people from his home town near the Turkey-Syria border have died and has not heard from others.

“Nobody knows if they are under the rubble or if they managed to get out,” he said.

Mr Yildirim’s British wife, Gemma, said their youngest child, who is eight, has “gone to bed crying every night” and is very worried about her grandfather.

“I don’t think she understood a lot of it until she saw the coverage on TV,” Mrs Yildirim said.

“It’s heart-breaking for her.”

Nephew Fuat Yildirim said everything had been destroyed in their city.

“My brother’s wife’s family is under the rubble,” he said.

“I’ve just been speaking with my dad today, he’s been screaming, crying, he says we live in the dark, cold.

“I don’t know how long [he can] make it.”

The men plan to fly back to Turkey at the weekend to move their remaining family to a different part of the country.

Source : BBC