Aftermath of the earthquake in Türkiye
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ankara is deeply saddened by the devastation that has resulted in due to massive earthquakes and tremors that has affected over 110,000 km2 area in southern Türkiye, with massive loss of life and property.
Embassy’s thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families of the victims and of the entire Turkish nation.
On 06 February 2023, Kahramanmaras Province in South-eastern Region of Türkiye was hit by 7.7 magnitude earthquake at 04:17 hrs and followed by two (02) after-quakes of 6.4 and 6.5 magnitudes which hit Gaziantep Province. Further, later on the same day at 13:24 hrs, another earthquake of 7.6 magnitudes in Elbistan city hit the in Kahramanmaras Province.
Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Diyarbakır, Adana, Osmaniye, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adıyaman, Malatya and Hatay provinces in the South eastern region have been identified as severely affected provinces due to the earthquakes and President of Türkiye, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declared state of emergency for three (03) months in these ten (10) provinces with effect from 09 February 2023.
Following the devastating earthquakes occurred in the South eastern region of Türkiye and aftershocks and tremors (over 2000), as of today, 12 February 2023, the death has risen to 29,605 and injured to 80,278.
As per the records at the Embassy, the Embassy identified total of sixteen (16) Sri Lankans as living in the area affected by the earthquakes and tremors. Out of the 16, 15 of them were contacted and are safe.
Meanwhile the Embassy had been working tirelessly to ascertain the whereabouts of a Sri Lankan 64-year-old female who was living in Hatay/Antakya Province in Türkiye. With the assistance of a Sri Lankan pastor, Rev. Kandasamy Gopalachandran David, who is also from Hatay, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Gaziantep, Mr. Suleyman Cicek and AFAD (Emergency and Disaster management unit under the Turkish Presidency) coordinating with the daughter of the missing person who arrived at the site of the destructed building. A friend of the Sri Lankan female and a Turkish Pastor known to her also were in touch with the Embassy with regard to search and rescue processes. The daughter of the deceased arrived in Hatay from Istanbul and Embassy assisted her to get necessary approvals to enter the area from AFAD. The daughter of the deceased reached the location on Friday (10th) and the debris were cleared for more than two (02) days by the search and rescue team.
Sadly, Today in the morning (12th February), the human remains of the missing Sri Lankan female was found under the debris and the daughter confirmed the identity of the mother.
Respecting the wishes of the daughter, Embassy has decided not to disclose the name of the mother and daughter. The deceased has arrived in Türkiye about 30 years ago, and has been married to a Turkish, who had passed away sometime back. Daughter is living and working in Istanbul.
Burial of the human remains of the deceased took place already today evening in Hatay/Antakya as the remains were fast decaying and in line with regulations imposed by the health authorities.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ankara extends its deepest condolence to the bereaved daughter and other family members of the deceased.
Further, with the strong support of our Honorary Consuls for Sri Lanka in Gaziantep and Nevsehir the Embassy was able to evacuate three (03) university students from Kahramanmaras and Sanliurfa to Ankara. Currently these three (03) students are accommodated at a hotel which is owned by the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Nevsehir, Mr. Mahmut Uluer. The Embassy is taking efforts to facilitate return of one of the Sri Lankan students.
Meanwhile, in solidarity with Turkish nation, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ankara cancelled the diplomatic reception to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 75th Anniversary of Independence which was to take place in the evening of 6th February 2023. Further, four (04) other Sri Lanka events to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka combined with Sri Lanka promotional events comprising of traditional dance performances, photo exhibition highlighting Sri Lanka’s biodiversity and achievements in environment and climate change front, food festival and a gem and jewellery exhibition in Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Istanbul cities between 7th and 16th of February 2023, as 03 were to take place in hotels of Anemon Group, owned by the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka for Izmir, Mr. Oguz Akcura. Although those hotels that embassy was organizing to hold the events were not affected, 03 of his hotels in affected areas were severely damaged.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka lowered its flag early on 6th February 2023 and is continuing to fly at half-mast.
The Hony. Consul for Sri Lanka in Adana, Mr. Besir Ali is an importer of tea from Sri Lanka since 1980s. His tea company BETA Tea has donated over 55,000 kg of tea from stocks already in Türkiye.
Both Adana and Gaziantep are much affected by the earthquake and our Hony. Consuls in these cities have been supporting Embassy’s efforts to bring Sri Lankans into safety while they themselves have been affected. Further, we appreciate much the assistance rendered by the Hony. Consuls in Izmir and Nevsehir.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
12 February 2023