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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Turkish earthquake: Your experiences
A Turkish mother at the collapsed four-storey dormitory at the village of Celtiksuyu, where 20 children are believed trapped in the wreckage

The last bodies of the 84 pupils killed in an earthquake have been recovered from the rubble of their collapsed school dormitory.

A total of 167 people are known to have died since south-eastern Turkey was hit by a powerful earthquake on Thursday.

Over 100 children were rescued after the boarding school dormitory came down as they slept.

The tremor, of magnitude 6.4, centred around the mainly Kurdish town of Bingol.

Were you affected by the earthquake? Do you live close to any of the damaged areas?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I was in nearby Kayseri to visit family when the earthquake happened. The tremors shook the whole house but only minor damage occurred. But lights went out in parts of the city for 30 minutes.
Onan Egeoglu, Great Britain

The 'earthquake diplomacy' spirit turned into something lasting
name here

The 1999 earthquakes brought unexpected historical change, when Turkey and Greece stood shoulder by shoulder to save lives. This time, from a neighbour came gestures, messages of condolence and permission to help, and it showed the "earthquake diplomacy" spirit turned into something lasting, and that Greece and Turkey will be there for each other. The world is full of neighbouring countries at the brink of war. Now they have an example, that the easiest way to overcome artificial hostilities is with simple and sincere deeds. People need people. And your neighbour is the closest you can find.
Diren Yardimli, UK

I was in Athens during the 1999 earthquake which resulted in the loss of many lives. The minute it starts shaking you feel overtaken by a complete powerlessness and panic, thinking of the consequences this could have on your life and that of your beloved ones, and on all that which you painstakingly created.
Nikos Salliarelis, Greece

I would like to send my condolence to the families who lost their loved ones. I pray from Japan.
Tatsuya Matsubara, Japan

I am convinced the recent heavy and sustained bombing of Iraq has greatly aggravated the earthquake risk in the entire unstable area of Turkey-Iraq-Iran. Remember the Afghan earthquake in March 2002 which followed shortly after the merciless bombing of Afghanistan.
Kornel Jank, Belgium

Kornel Jank, earthquakes happen around the times of full moons because of the magnetic pulls of gravity, which pulls the tectonic plates out of alignment, not because the country was bombed. I pray for the lost loved ones in Turkey.
Milke, Canada

I live near Izmir and we had an earthquake measuring 5.6 in April. It was terrifying and we have been warned that another is due to strike on 10 May. The worst thing is that I, an Englishwoman, had always believed that the earth is solid when all else fails. Rigid standards of building must be put in place to avoid catastrophes like that in Bingol but the longer the length of the quake the more risk of severe damage. I, like many others, also believe that the recent bombings in Iraq contributed to the Bingol disaster.
Kim Wilson, Turkey

God bless all of them
Soran Barawi, Taiwan

It is the most dramatic force of nature, unkind and has no mercy... my full sympathy to the Kurdish people in the east of Turkey, they have force of nature upon them... God bless all of them.
Soran Barawi, Taiwan

As a geophysicist I think the main reason for such a number of casualties is due to building in wrong areas, on faults and weak points on continental crust, although the materials should be studied as well. But it's not the nature which caused these losses but the human fatal mistakes.
Kareem Tarabishi, Syria

I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the children who have perished in the earthquake. I pray that many more lives will be saved and that those trapped beneath the rubble know that help is at hand.
Jean Fuller, Suffolk, UK, UK

I am Turkish living in the US. I would like to send my deep sadness and strong grief to all families that affected by earthquake.
Nesrin Aygenc, USA

Earthquake does not kill, bad constructions do. As long as we let the constructors to steal from the materials we will burry more citizens.
Hakan, Turkey

Being part of that global community, the joy and sorrows of any human race is also my joy and sorrows. Therefore, I do sympathize with the people of Turkey in this trying moment.
Egwu Anthony, Nigeria

I will be praying for all the trapped children and anyone else affected by the disaster. Through all that they go through, I hope that they still have hope in their hearts. My mother was 15 years old when the last great earthquake hit Guatemala. She and her eight brothers and sisters were homeless for months, but they made it through.
Monica, Los Angeles, CA, US

I am terribly upset that my beautiful country has to deal with not only economical problems but also the nature and the evils who built those buildings. Those people do not deserve this. I am sending my condolences and sympathy from thousands of kilometres away.
Sibel, USA

Our neighbours can know they are not alone in this
Constantinos Bogdanos, a Greek in London

At the 1999 Athens quake I witnessed the Turkish rescue team pulling a woman out of the rubble. The Turks had seen the Greek rescuers in Istanbul just months before. Our neighbours can know they are not alone in this, the way we know we are not either - it has been called "earthquake diplomacy" but you have to live this to understand. It makes you feel zero. In the face of such horror we can only humble ourselves before nature's ways of making people feel and act as nothing more than humans. No exaggeration. Greece prays for Bingol.
Constantinos Bogdanos, a Greek in London

I was affected by the 1999 earthquake in Istanbul. I don't want to remember those days. My family and I slept in the park that night. We couldn't go home because everybody was scared of the earthquake. During the earthquake, we were holding each other and praying. Today, I will pray for victims.
Esen Nas, U.S.A

I come from Greece and we have problems with earthquakes like Turkey, but I think the only solution to reduce death tolls to a minimum, is to pass laws that would require a high quake protection and probably people to agree to the extra material that would be required. It is easy to blame the engineer but I am sure in most cases the engineer pointed out what is required but maybe people wanted to avoid the extra cost. My condolences to all the victims' families.
Kostas, Greece/UK

We are devastated to hear of the terrible news of the Turkish earthquake. We are so sorry to hear and are thinking of all the families involved at this awful time.
Hannah and Emma, Somerset, England

The cause of the earthquake is natural. But the cause of hundreds of deaths that shook our country is the economical system itself. If you have corruption all over the system you can not blame the nature for its causes because nobody will believe you. In order to stop these agonies the people itself should do something about its future.
Ogun Eratalay, Turkey

It has been terrible to live in seismological area such as my home country Tajikistan. I do remember an earthquake that killed and wounded a lot of people two years ago. It brought a horror in my heart and I live in fear for my beloved people. And you can't do anything about it.
Muallimsho Sinavbarov, Tajikistan

Earthquake is inevitable and unpredictable. However, it is important to take necessary precautions. As in Izmit earthquake three years ago, again it is responsibility of those people who only considered their pockets instead of the people who were going to stay in the building. In no way I can understand these construction companies and their bosses and their thinking... As a teacher in Turkey and an ex-boarding student, I understand what families feel and understand their fears. I pray for them...
Nurdan Korkmaz, Turkey

I hope this will be the end in the history of earthquake victims
Aytac, Turkey

In 1999, August at 3:00am I was working on my computer when the earthquake hits the Marmara region. It was a nightmare. Probably I'll never forget those days. We survived from this disaster without any injuries. Actually we were lucky. Istanbul is far from the centre of the earthquake. This latest disaster will reflect the urgency of the building construction quality. I hope this will be the end in the history of earthquake victims.

I just want to express my sincere sympathy for the young children and all the other victims.
Ioannis Kleisiaris, Greece

I would like to express my true compassion straight from my heart to the people of Turkey. This is a catastrophe worse than war because it's coming immediately, unexpectedly. I was in Turkey in August 1999, 8 days after the fatal earthquake which took 17000 people and I could see consequences. It was terrible but I was also impressed by the attitude of the compatriots. They were thousands of cars going with help from whole country to the affected area. I'm sure that now it's the same.
Jacek Cerkaski , Poland

I live in California. I feel deeply for the people of Turkey. We live daily with the terror of a damaging quake. We laugh when the ground shakes a little...and we weep when we hear of others who suffer from an earthquake...especially children. There is nothing that can be said to comfort the families of Turkey, but I want them to know that there are people all over the world praying for their safety and the safety of their children.
Marrion Sweeney, USA

I was affected by the earthquakes in 1999 and 1992. Those were very difficult time for me and my relatives. I hope, the people in Turkey will be fine and the world people will help them.
Ahmet Burak Uzun, Turkey

It's not the earthquake that kills, it's the people... and they should be prosecuted
Hasan, UK

I was born in Kigi -Bingol. My father used to tell us about the earthquake which happened in seventies at that region when he was also a student. And their dormitory also collapsed. I have also seen the 'Izmit' earthquake which took more than 17.000 innocent lives. And now I am very disappointed they still haven't learned the lesson. It's very sad to hear that collapsed building was build just 3 years ago. Now, I believe that it's not the earthquake that kills, it's the people... and they should be prosecuted.
Hasan, UK

I have all the sympathy for the victims of this tragedy. And I hope more and more citizen can stay strong to wait for rescue.
Dorothy, Hong Kong

I just want to say that I feel really bad about the news of the earth quake and the children trapped I just want to let you know how sad I feel for your country and all who are hurt or have died from this earthquake , my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Debbie, USA

I don't live there in Turkey but my heart is connected with the people of Turkey. I am so sad to hear the news about poor kids. May Allah Bless them All.
Rahila, Pakistan

I am very sorry to hear about the Bingol earthquake. I come from that region. My family and I experienced the Istanbul earthquake in 1999. It was a horrific experience. It took us in sleep. My first thought was to get the children out but it was pitch dark. We couldn┐t see anything; a big dark emptiness. Those moments will be with us for a long time.
Gul Berna Ozcan, USA

I'm from Hong Kong, the city with the most SARS outbreak found. I was deeply affected by the tragedy just because I'm also a teacher. May God bless all those kids who are still buried in the collapsed dormitory.
Elaine Wu, China

News of fears over fighting between English and Turkish football fans seems so pitifully unimportant in the light of this disaster. God Bless my Turkish brothers and sisters wherever they may be, from an England fan.
Jim, England

It brings back tears, when I think of the day I lived through the tragedy of August 1999. God bless to all those who are not with us today.
Lutfi, England

God help those poor people and their children
Stephanie Kazakos, Cyprus

An earthquake is the most terrifying thing you can experience, there is no way of moving or doing anything during those moments. The fear - will this be a mild tremor or the dreaded 'big one'? God help those poor people and their children.
Stephanie Kazakos, Cyprus

With the other story in the news today about England-Turkey football animosity, perhaps it would be possible for the Football Supporters Association and the Clubs to organise collections at the final round of League matches this weekend. The money raised could be used for the relief operation after the horror of the earthquake. Perhaps this would help demonstrate to people in both nations that not all football supporters are mindless, racist thugs and also at the end of the day that many things, e.g. life itself, are far higher in most people's priorities than football.
Paul Gardner, UK

I think the tragedy of what happened to the people in Turkey is very disturbing, and I really feel deeply sorry for the people who lost loved ones.
Mariana, Brazil

I was affected by the 1999 earthquake in Izmit/Istanbul while I was studying at University of Kocaeli. I did not get injured but it did effect me psychologically. That's a terrible fate of us, Turkish people. All the houses are built near a potential earthquake risk area and it is never easy to say to people "get out of this city, an earthquake could happen anytime" while everybody has already settled in! What we do hope is that coming earthquakes will be less harmful.
Serdar Kocak , Turkish-currently in the UK

We spent a marvellous holiday last October not far from Bingol. Our best wishes to the people there who were so kind to us. Our thoughts are with them.
Paddy & Gill Browne,

How can the earth and soil, the most dependable feature on this planet become mankind's enemy?
Ahmad Lutfi Azhar, Malaysia

I lived in Turkey for 10 years. During my time there, the August 1999 earthquake struck. How can the earth and soil, the most dependable feature on this planet, our home, become mankind's enemy?
Ahmad Lutfi Azhar, Malaysia

I can only grieve with and for my fellow Europeans. What a tragedy.
Carlos Hevvas, Spain

I am enraged and worried as I have family living in Istanbul and Izmir. I cannot comprehend the carelessness of the local authorities allowing buildings being built in such a ruthless manner. I fear (know) that corruption and bribery caused this unnecessary harm. If such issues are not tackled immediately I fear for worse disasters in the future. We must have a feeling of self-discipline stopping the causes for such disasters rather than god fearfully(as Prime Minister Erdogan: "May God protect us from worse") bowing our heads to them. May God bless those who died and have Mercy on those who built these Houses of Cards.
Ismail Tunca, Belgium

My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families.
Tammie, USA

I come from Maharashtra state of India which about 5 years back was severely hit by an earthquake that left thousands dead. By the grace of the God all the members of my family were safe. Because houses were built from stones with no underlying structure, the doors and windows got blocked and people were unable to come out of their houses. Next day morning, what I saw was infinite dead bodies, some of whom I knew and spent my childhood with.
Raghav, India

It is an absolute tragedy that Turkish people have to deal with again
Halil, USA

It is an absolute tragedy that Turkish people have to deal with again. I expect from everyone to act as responsible world citizens and help the victims of the earthquake emotionally or financially. I ask everyone, AT LEAST, to pray for the victims. Blessings of Allah be with them. God Bless the victims and Republic of Turkey.
Halil, USA

Yes, I am affected because I am human. It is a catastrophe when a mass of people die and homes and building collapse.
Zahid Shad, Pakistan

I am an English student of Turkish and wish to express my sadness that such a tragedy has hit such a beautiful place.
Kelly Gorton, England

I am half Turkish and am increasingly concerned with the Turkish government's failure to punish many of the construction companies which continually build poor and unsafe buildings across Turkey. There should be more intense efforts made to have earthquake proof buildings, such as the main airport in Istanbul. Whilst it would be expensive the results would be rewarding, with far less catastrophic images we are continually seeing.
Oliver, England

Much as I am sorry to see the devastation, I really am surprised the form and standard of construction on some of the buildings there. After the last major earthquake there were a lot of enquires and resolutions passed, how much of it was implemented??
Ikram Qureshi, Pakistan

I really feel ashamed that everybody knows there is a danger of quakes yet we continue to build high blocks
Filiz Arslan, Turkey

I was in Istanbul when the big tremor almost 7.0 hit the region in 1999. It was 0300 and the weather was very hot. I even couldn't have gone to sleep a long time. But the earthquake was too strong and too long. I felt I was going to die in those seconds. But the most hurtful thing was that I felt that my all family were going to die. Luckily our apartment block didn't collapse but it would have if the tremor had been a few seconds longer. When it stopped, we left the house but the ground floor almost collapsed. We just couldn't live there anymore. We were homeless for a week, then my parents found a rented flat again which wasn't damaged in the earthquake. I really feel ashamed that everybody knows there is a danger of quakes yet we continue to build high blocks in Istanbul and in Izmit, which lies on the fault. More quakes are inevitable.
Filiz Arslan, Turkey

I am sorry for all those who are suffering. We pray for them.
Ozcan Kalkan, Turkey

I live in Istanbul, and I was here when one of the biggest quakes happened in 1999. There is no word to describe that fear and worry when it happens. On one hand you are trying to survive and on the other hand you are thinking of your family, house, friends. It is a tragedy. I hope it does not happen anywhere else in the world, no matter friend or enemy - we all are human.
Davut, Turkey

How much more can one nation take?
Suat Bayraktar, Turkey/UK

I live in Manchester, UK. I have got family and friends living in Turkey. I am really worried about people who live in Turkey because there is a great divide between the very rich and very poor. The very poor are really working hard to find food for living, and now they have to deal with an earthquake. How much more can one nation take? How can those people sit and think about a future for their kids and find reasons for happiness. I wasn't when I was living over there. God bless them all. I hope we can do some campaigning to collect some money to support and help those people. We should always remember what goes around, it comes around.
Suat Bayraktar, Turkey/UK

I'm a Turkish student. I survived the Izmit earthquake in 1999. Since I read the news of the earthquake in Bingol, I have been going through the same shock and the same fear: the fear of death.
Dev Oz, Finland

Many buildings in Turkey are not strong enough for earthquakes so a lot of people die
Sule Temur, Turkey

I live in Izmir in the western part of turkey and these earthquakes really destroy our nerves. Many buildings in Turkey are not strong enough for earthquakes so a lot of people die. If that earthquake had happened in Japan, most probably nobody would have died. Are our lives less important? It's high time serious action was taken. God bless all the lost children.
Sule Temur, Turkey

The Bingol earthquake refreshes fears of all people who live in Turkey that anything like this could happen as we sleep.
Goksel Durkaya, Turkey

I had been working in Izmit for two years on the construction of a water treatment plant and dam when the 1999 quake hit at 0315. We had built the accommodation that we were living in and both the plant and out apartments stood up to the full force of the earthquake. The surrounding villages were not so lucky and most buildings collapsed like packs of playing cards. The aftershocks continued for days afterwards, all the way through our relief effort.
Leighton Millis, UK

I was working with Leighton in Izmit in 1999. His point cannot be made often enough. Good quality buildings withstand earthquakes. There was one in Seattle of similar strength to Izmit where only one person died. That showed earthquakes do not kill people; buildings do.
Asef Ahmed, Turkey

I live in Istanbul where many people lost their lives in the 1999 quake. I was one of the lucky ones to have lived on the safer side of the city but I can still remember how devastating it was to wake up to a quake at three in the morning and try to run for your life.
Orhan, Turkey/UK

Hopes fade for Turkish pupils
03 May 03  |  Europe
Children trapped in Turkey quake
01 May 03  |  Europe
Why Bingol's school collapsed
02 May 03  |  Europe


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