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Turkey-Syria earthquake: ‘We lost my sister and family’

A businessman based in Northern Ireland has spoken of his devastation after his sister and her family were killed in the earthquake in Turkey.

Ibrahim Urs is originally from Hatay Province, Turkey, and now lives in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

A week after the earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, the number of those killed has risen to more than 35,000.

The UN has warned that that figure could double.

Mr Urs said his sister and her husband, Arzu and Niyazi Karatas and their two sons – Batuhan dinc and M. Sahin Karatas – were among those who had died after a building collapsed.

He travelled home to Turkey where his family members were all buried together on Sunday.

“All my family is so sad – we are feeling really bad at the moment,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra.

Mr Urs said his sister had been like “a second mother” to him.

“She was so young, all the kids are so young as well, one of them is 11-years-old and one of them is seven years old, they are so young,” he added.

He has travelled to Antakya in Turkey, attending the family funerals this week, and is providing further support to his relatives.

Mr Urs said he was now planning to bring his sister’s daughter who survived the earthquake, but has lost her mother, father and brothers, back to Northern Ireland.

She was pulled from the rubble having witnessed the tragic deaths of her family.

“We are just trying to treat her the best way we can,” he said.

“She has lost everything. She has to live with this trauma. I will try to get the documents sorted out for her.”

Mr Urs runs a barber shop in Kingsgate Street in Coleraine and praised the people of Northern Ireland for the support they had provided following the earthquake.

“They have supported me with many messages, many texts and phone calls, I really appreciate it,” he added.

“I didn’t expect it… I feel like I have a really big family there.

“I really appreciate everyone.”

Source : BBC