Too scared to go back inside their homes: Aftermath of Turkey’s deadly earthquake

The neighbourhood of Bayrakli in the Aegean city of Izmir is new compared to the rest of the century-old city.

Developed at the start of the 2000s, it’s a mixture of middle class housing and swanky office towers.

But 20 of those buildings have now collapsed. Most on their sides, four just crumbled in on themselves. They are all just a few hundred metres from each other.

With several others seriously damaged, people are being warned by police officers to stay away from cordoned-off areas, fearing a tremor could cause another collapse.

It seems like a regular Friday night, but as I get closer, the crowds of people and cars parked both sides of the road to get closer to the rescue site are striking.

People are stood outside and sat in nearby cafes, packing up their cars to spend the night with relatives or at second homes in resort towns nearby.

One small family-of-three chose to stay in their car with their seven-year-old daughters.

Their building was so severely damaged they couldn’t get back into their apartment.

Everyone seems scared to go back inside their homes – especially those who live close to the areas that suffered the most damage.

I arrive at one block and only rubble remains of the seven-floor building.

Before there were 28 apartments, but now nothing but a mountain of dust and concrete can be seen.

A young father and his son are watching the rescue operation closely and attract my attention.

Asked if he lived in the building, the father said: “No I live just next door but our friends live here and they are missing their daughter.”

Elif Inan is nine and was home alone when the earthquake hit.

Her parents were at work and there was no one else with her.

Her mother is in deep distress, she sits on a folded chair, held by her friend and relatives.

She sees pieces of furniture in the rubble and rushes to the teams on the ground asking if Elif could be close by.

She is sent back to safety, but all she wants is just one glimmer of hope, some information about what could have happened.

Could Elif still be down there? Maybe she got out and is in hospital.

An official from the rescue operation comes to tell her that her daughter might have been taken to one of the two hospitals where those found in the rubble are being sent.

She stays on the folding chair outside the building while her husband goes to check the hospitals.

Further away I could see small groups scattered along the street sitting on chairs and looking at the same building.

This 75-year-old man is called Yaşar Koza,

He had just stepped out to buy some bread. But when he came back his home was gone.

“I just saw a huge cloud of dust and my home was gone,” he told Sky News.

His wife could still be alive, he hopes.

“No one gives me any information, she might be in the hospital but I do not know. I cannot leave, she could still be under the concrete,” he says.

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