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Turkey: Earthquake victims now waging war on virus

ELAZIG, Turkey

Two months after facing a 6.8 magnitude earthquake, now people in eastern Turkey are working to avoid contracting the deadly coronavirus.

Many survivors of the Jan. 24 quake in Elazig province are being housed in container cities until permanent residences are built, but are avoiding going out to help stem the virus’ spread. Unless going out is truly necessary, they are staying put.

While residents of the container city get medical checks, disinfection is carried out by the municipal government.

Moreover, the needs of elderly people and those with chronic diseases – now facing a curfew as they are especially susceptible to the deadly virus – are met by the local branch of the Vefa Social Support Group.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, quake victim Saliha Kardesler said that they overcame many hardships following the disaster with the help of the state, and the same thing would help them overcome the virus.

“The state takes all these measures for us. Our young people can’t go to work, some have left jobs, the schools are closed. Let’s not go outside, let’s get through this as soon as possible,” said Kardesler.

Suleyman Gungor, another quake victim, said that in order for the epidemic not to spread, they must follow the rules set by government health officials.

“We scrub our hands and try to protect ourselves from the virus. I hope these times end, and we get rid of this virus,” he added.

Pamuk Aydin – 67 and under the state curfew – said that she calls a hotline for help with her daily needs, saying; “We’re afraid of coronavirus, so we’re inside. God bless our state, they are taking care of us. May Allah protect our state, our nation, the entire Muslim world.”

Turkey has taken a host of measures in the areas of the economy, trade, education, and health to stem the virus’ spread.

The death toll from coronavirus in Turkey stands at 59.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 175 countries and territories, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 491,600 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 22,100 and nearly 118,200 successful recoveries.

Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the countries hardest hit.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.

*Writing by Burak Dag

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