Turkish mother tries to survive for her children in earthquake-hit…

By Bulent Usta

HATAY PROVINCE, Turkey, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Turkish mother-of-three Tulay Parlakgun pushes her son Salih in a shopping trolley lined with blankets past collapsed buildings to a tent where they are sheltering, trying to lift her children’s spirits following last week’s earthquake.

“He likes the shopping trolley. It’s kind of a baby carriage. We are trying to get by like this,” she said as she stroked 3-year old Salih and hugged her older son.

“May God help us. Hopefully these days will be over. We will return home,” she said, психологи и психиатры her face etched with exhaustion.

With her sister and mother in Hatay Province in southern Turkey, the 38-year-old Parlakgun sits outside and cooks soup in the street on a stove.Her sister uses her phone as a mirror to wipe her face.

The disaster, with a combined death toll in Turkey and neighbouring Syria exceeding 37,000, has ravaged cities in both countries, leaving many survivors homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures.Even if homes are left standing, it is not certain they are safe and they have no water or electricity.

“The children are spending time with each other and their cousins. It’s really hard for them. They cry every day. We try to be strong for them,” Parlakgun said.

“Their psychology is destroyed. They say: ‘We don’t want to live like this. I want my room. I want my toys. I want to live in my home.’ We manage to find a way to console them.”

Hospitals have reported they are now treating increasing numbers of patients for post-traumatic stress disorder after having been overwhelmed with crush injuries in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

Parlakgun’s house is still standing, at least.

“Most of our belongings are damaged,” she said.”Some of them are destroyed but thank God the house is in good condition. Slowly, bit by bit we will clean it up.”

The first time she entered her house after the earthquake she looked for blankets for her children, she said.

“The first thought in my mind was them. We try to survive for them. They are our hope.”

“We are used to watching earthquakes and similar disasters on TV but we would have never imagined we would go through this one day. It shows anything can happen to us.” (Reporting by Bulent Usta, Writing by Alexandra Hudson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)