Turkey earthquake: Baby monitor shows moment the earthquake in Turkey hit
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Armed soldiers patrol the streets of Iskenderun as tensions run high in the wake of earthquakes that laid waste to this bustling port. Troops were deployed to keep order after shops were looted and aid vehicles hijacked, sparking violent clashes, a local tells us. There is an atmosphere of simmering discontent in the city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Anger is growing at the way Recep Erdogan’s government responded to the crisis, with many frustrated that aid was slow to trickle in and distribution chaotic.
No one denies that this was a natural disaster on a horrific scale. And damage to Iskenderun’s airport and main roads undoubtedly slowed down aid.
But some locals feel their survival was not a priority because the country’s president is unpopular in this region.
One woman tells us help has been inconsistent and disorderly. “When the trucks arrive and are unpacked, everyone rushes in. There is no control or organisation,” she says.
Desperation and greed are fuelling problems as some people take more than they need, the woman adds. Gesturing to the bagel in her hand, she says: “I just need one, not 10.”
An elderly man and woman sit wrapped in coats and blankets on a sofa outside a ruined shop, close to a fire kept alive by burning furniture.
Their son is furious at the government’s slow response, his voice rising and shaking as he debates with supporters of Erdogan.
But he does not want to speak to the media for fear of losing his job as a firefighter.
A dual carriageway running through the city has flooded and only lorries forge their way through the murky water.
Dust clouds the air and burns our eyes as efforts to clear the rubble and find any survivors still clinging to life continue into their fifth day.
Memories lie among the concrete – a smashed family picture in a gold frame sits beside photos of a beaming young couple whose fate is now unknown.
In a quieter part of town, residents sleep under the flimsy cover of tents and plastic tarpaulins, or out in the open with piles of blankets to fend off the chill.
Abdulhalim Araz, 70, sits with his wife and daughter Hayat feeding pieces of furniture to a fire below a blackened kettle.
They lost their flat and he now sleeps in his car while the women spend the night on a balcony.
Hayat, 41, says: “Nobody can stay in the houses here because they are so damaged. All of us are sleeping outside, in a car, in a tent, or on blankets.”
Abdulhalim adds: “We need help. My wife cannot walk properly, we are old.
“We feel very great sadness. This has happened across 10 different cities.
“The government is trying to support us as much as it can, but it is a huge area affected.”
Selda Baloglu, 50, shows us videos on her phone of the deep cracks in the walls of her flat.
Her daughter Nisa, 13, describes how she ran to her parents and they hid under blankets as their home trembled.
Selda adds: “From the outside my house looks good but inside the columns are badly damaged so I cannot stay there.
“I was sleeping when I felt the shaking. The ceiling and walls were falling down. I thought, ‘I’m going to die’. When the shaking stopped I ran out wearing only my pyjamas, without shoes.”
Nearby, a Syrian family has crafted a basic shelter using parts of a sofa, bedding and sheets. Iskenderun has a large population of refugees who fled the civil war in Syria and many have nowhere to go now that their sanctuary has been destroyed.
At the city’s port, one of two main container ports on Turkey’s southern coast, firefighters were battling to extinguish the last stubborn patches of a fire caused by Monday’s earthquakes.
A plane flies low overhead, dumping water on the smoking wreckage of metal containers.
The harbour is providing a lifeline for the injured, some of whom are taken to neighbouring Mersin by boat.
Cruise ships and ferries are also on the way to offer accommodation to the thousands left homeless.
With each day we spend here, the scenes of devastation and shattered lives become more painfully familiar – but no less heartbreaking.
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