Gaziantep, Turkey – It has been every week since a large earthquake immediately modified tens of hundreds of Turkish and Syrian lives.

A 7.8-magnitude quake erased hundreds of buildings throughout 10 Turkish cities, devastating complete villages throughout the border in northern Syria as properly.

The demise toll surpassed 33,000 in each international locations on Sunday, making it the deadliest earthquake in many years within the area.

Rescue groups and help have been taking longer than anticipated due to winter climate and heavy harm to the roads.

As civilians complained, many equipped their very own support as they may, organising a response neighbourhood by neighbourhood to assist and assist one another.

Volunteer Nidal Memik helps with tent development [Abdulsalam Jarroud/Al Jazeera]

‘Full terror’

Just a few hours after the quake, restaurant homeowners and bars opened their doorways distributing scorching tea, bread, and a protected place to guard victims from the chilly.

At Kebabçi Yalçin, within the neighbourhood of Gazimuhtar in Gaziantep, proprietor Mehmet Taşdelen instantly went to open his ground-floor restaurant as a refuge for many who simply witnessed such a traumatic expertise.

“On this road there are solely excessive buildings, folks have been operating in full terror in each route,” Taşdelen tells Al Jazeera.

“After I noticed that, I ran to open my restaurant at round 6am on the morning of the large quake. I began a few fires as all of us stood collectively, ready for the bottom to cease shaking.”

Within the coming days, he left the door of his restaurant open for anybody needing a heat place and meal.

“If we didn’t die within the quake, we would die of starvation or chilly,” says Ahmet, 64, who most popular to not share his final title, as he picked up a pot of scorching noodles from the restaurant.

He parked his automobile not removed from Kebabçi Yalçin, the place he’s been sleeping for days together with his spouse, too scared to return again to his home after the trauma.

In Gaziantep, regardless of not being as closely impacted as elsewhere within the area, humanity amid the tragedy appears to have taken over.

At Café Sempre, in Ordu Caddesi, the proprietor affords blankets and free meals all day.

“I instantly got here to my bar as quickly as I noticed all these folks on the street in search of a protected ground-floor place,” says Ferdi Haydargil, 44, as he serves some scorching cups of tea. “It’s our ethical responsibility to supply something we will to assist one another.”

Over the previous few nights, a couple of dozen folks have taken shelter in his bar, together with a Turkish-Italian couple, who lengthy earlier than the quake had their first date there.

The completely happy recollections they shared right here are actually haunting them. After nights of sleeping in a automobile, scared their home was unsafe, they noticed this place open and determined to spend one night time with different folks.

“We by no means thought we would like the pandemic to what we’re experiencing now,” says Ayhan Kahrıman, 29, as he holds his girlfriend’s hand.

‘On this collectively’

Noticing the infinite bread traces however few locations for decent meals, Huseyin Özyurtkan, 50 and his spouse Burcu, 42, have been making ready scorching meals round {a partially} broken citadel space over the previous 4 days.

Regardless of the scenario at residence, which is unsafe for them to return to, they determined to actively assist different folks in the identical scenario.

“We’re going by actually exhausting instances and all of us need to be on this collectively and present our energy,” Özyurtkan says.

His spouse determined to spend her birthday, which occurred on Sunday, serving to these in want. “Nothing is extra necessary than occupied with others proper now,” she says as she tightens her hijab and goes again to work.

Syrians and Turks come collectively

As Özyurtkan goes round distributing meals together with his automobile to these he encounters on the road, he says “as of late there’s no distinction of nationality, ethnicity, beliefs and appearances”.

Over the previous decade, Gaziantep has grow to be a blended metropolis, the place one-third of the inhabitants is Syrian with these having fled the ravages of Syria’s devastating battle.

Regardless of social and financial friction, coexistence has grow to be a part of Gaziantep’s id, in peaceable in addition to tragic instances reminiscent of this.

Lately, divisions are disappearing and Syrian and Turkish volunteers work aspect by aspect to assist shield Gaziantep and its folks.

Nidal Memik, a 22-year-old from Aleppo, determined to volunteer with the Ministry of Household to construct tents for displaced folks.

As a Syrian displaced by the battle as a young person, he empathises with what folks in his adopted residence are feeling as of late. So he needed to supply his assist and data on how to deal with the trauma and consequent stress.

He’s presently volunteering with Ezgi Ala, 28, a social employee from the Ministry of Household, who’s attempting to assist Mohammad al-Sabah, a displaced Syrian father of two.

“He nonetheless doesn’t have a tent and we’re going round from one tent to a different to search for a spot,” Ala says.

“Now we have all been equally affected and now we have to stay collectively to assist one another and supply for one another,” she provides.

girl in gaziantep
Ezgi Ala, 28, a social employee with Turkey’s Ministry of Household [Abdulsalam Jarroud/Al Jazeera]