Witness the earthquake in Turkey: how to live next to the disaster

On the day of the earthquake on February 6, 2023, a catastrophic natural disaster struck Turkey, leaving thousands of people injured, homeless, and grieving. But the impact was felt far beyond the areas of the country that were directly affected by the physical destruction. For many people, the trauma of the earthquake was deeply felt, whether it was through the emotional toll of witnessing the devastation, or the physical toll of living in temporary shelters or dealing with disrupted services.

It’s difficult to overstate the magnitude of this experience, which left its mark on individuals and communities across the country. Whether felt morally or physically, the earthquake had a profound impact on the lives of many people, and the healing process will take time and perseverance.

Among those affected was our language partner Ashraf, who lives with his family in the eastern part of Turkey. We’ve been eagerly waiting to speak with him to gain a better understanding of the impact the event had on the country.

Despite the overwhelming challenges, the people of Turkey have shown remarkable resilience and solidarity in the aftermath of the earthquake. Through their words, we hope to learn more about the impact of this disaster on the local community, and the ways in which we, as language services providers, can continue to support and stand in solidarity with the people of Turkey. So, let’s dive into the interview directly with our language partner about their experience of this life-changing event:

Homeland Language Services: Where were you and your family on Monday, February 6 when the earthquake happened?

Ashraf: We were at home sleeping when the earthquake happened around 4:15 am.

Homeland Language Services: Have you known about the evidence of earthquakes before? Are there any special alerts?

Ashraf: No, there were no prior alerts.

Homeland Language Services: What support are you receiving these days?

Ashraf: The government has been very supportive of the affected people, providing shelter as much as possible and necessities such as food, clothes, water, and healthcare. The government will also start giving a small amount of allowance to these families. The long-term plan is to rebuild the houses as quickly as possible.

Homeland Language Services: How are you handling your work duties these days?

Ashraf: Since all my work is mainly remote, the loss of electricity and internet didn’t affect me much, although my concentration was affected. My team steps in to cover for me during these times.

Homeland Language Services: You are a language services provider, did you notice any changes in requests? Is there an increase in the need for interpretation services?

Ashraf: Yes, there is an increase in requests for certain languages because rescue teams with different nationalities have stepped in, which causes a language barrier between foreign doctors and the affected people.

Homeland Language Services: In your opinion, how can language services be useful in such situations?

Ashraf: Most of our support as a language services provider comes from the medical field since thousands of people were injured. Many doctors, nurses, and health practitioners came to support from all over the world. Interpreting between the victims and the health practitioners is a must to better diagnose the victims. On the other hand, the areas that were most damaged are occupied by two major nationalities, Syrians and Turks, who speak two different languages. Assistance is really needed to interpret and translate between the two languages, Arabic and Turkish to English.

We highly appreciate Ashraf’s time and the possibility to talk with us about the situation in Turkey. We empathize with the challenges that the earthquake has brought upon the community. As a language services provider, we can offer our support to ensure that communication barriers are overcome and that the affected people receive the help they need in their native language. Our Homeland Language Services team of professional interpreters and translators can provide fast and accurate language services to aid in the recovery and rebuilding process. We stand with Turkish and Syrian victims of the earthquake during these difficult times. If you want to help Turkish abd Syrian victims, find here some aid resources.

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