Earthquake in Turkey destroys Gloucestershire businessman's hometown
By Laura Enfield | 15th February 2023
A fundraising appeal has been set up by Gloucestershire businessman whose hometown was destroyed in the Turkey earthquake.
Brusk Korkmaz, CEO of Hercules Site Services, travelled to his homeland following the disaster which has left 40,000 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
He found the town of Iskenderun where he grew up devastated with family and friends losing homes and many still trapped under the rubble waiting for help.
One apartment block where 120 people lived was destroyed with nobody making it out alive and Brusk said it has been "heartbreaking" seeing how many are affected.
He said: "I travelled to Turkey knowing the fact that my hometown had been destroyed.
"Even though my parents and sister and some friends are well and healthy there are lots of people still under the debris with very little chance of survival after seven days and so many people are homeless. They lost everything in 90 seconds."
One family member was trapped for 34 hours before being rescued but others did not make it.
Brusk said: "My cousin saved his family, getting them out alive from under their home which was destroyed. He also dug his brother and his brother's family out of rubble, four people were saved.
"However his brother lost his toes as they stayed under the rubble for 10 hours before being rescued.
"Some of my friends and distant family also got rescued but some have not made it. Some kids survived without parents and some parents survived without their kids."
He added: "I have never felt so happy by seeing my family and friends as well as devastated by seeing these stories and people in this state."
It is nine days since two 7.8- and 7.6-magnitude earthquakes levelled swathes of southern Turkey and northern Syria. The World Health Organization has called it the worst natural disaster in 100 years in its 53-country Europe region.
Survivors are still being pulled from the rubble but hope is dwindling and hundreds of thousands of people are still at risk after being left sleeping in the open in often sub-zero conditions.
Brusk said: "This earthquake is colossal, affecting 10 cities, hundreds of towns and villages over 250 mile radius. Can you imagine every household and community from Swindon to past Derby is affected?"
He and his South Cerney based company, founded in 2008, have launched an appeal to raise funds to support the ongoing humanitarian work in the country. Money raised will go to Turkish charity ahbap.org to ensure it helps those most in need.
The appeal has already raised £15,299 in seven days but Brusk has asked for people to keep on donating what they can to help those devastated by the disaster.
He said: "I came here to bring necessities and medicine to my family, friends and people whoever need help.
"So many heroes here went through this and they are very brave, still helping each other.
"I feel like my help is less than a drop in the ocean but if I can help some people it means a lot to me."
Brusk plans to stay in Iskenderun at least another week and said he is thankful for all the support he has received from Gloucestershire so far.
He said: "I am so grateful that we managed to raise over 10,000 in less than three days. This will go a long way to providing people with shelter, medicine, supplies etc.
"We want to raise as much as we can, so please keep donating and sharing the link."
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/herculesturkishearthquakefund?utm_term=56ar2RnNE
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