Elyas* is a member of Humanity & Inclusion’s team in northwest Syria. He and his family experienced the earthquakes. They are safe but still in shock.
It was about 4:20 a.m. last Monday when the earthquake struck. My wife and 5-year-old daughter were sleeping, but I was already awake. We felt strong vibrations and heard screams from children and women in our building and nearby.
My family and I rushed into the street, which was already crowded with people who were screaming, crying, and calling for help. Fortunately, we were safe, but two children in neighboring apartments were injured due to collapsing walls. I am deeply saddened because some of my friends have passed away.
Like many in my neighborhood, we decided to stay in our car with my family as it seems to be the safest place at the time and because we are afraid of the aftershocks. We did not want to return to our homes, unsure if they would collapse in the following days.
Yesterday, I returned to our home briefly to get blankets, as it was very cold. People were starting fires in the streets to stay warm. Fortunately, some small restaurants had reopened, providing food after the disaster.
Many are homeless
Thousands of houses are damaged in my city and around. The consequences of the earthquake are really spread across the region.
The primary needs are shelter, heat, tents and blankets, as many fear returning to their homes and are staying on the street. Others have no homes to return to. I also see a lot of people who are injured or psychologically traumatized.
My daughter is scared of aftershocks and won't stop crying, but I try to comfort her, telling her that the earthquake is over and will never happen again.
I am exhausted, having been unable to sleep, but I will remain strong for my daughter and family.
*Name has been changed