Members of the China Search and Rescue Team carry out rescue operation on earthquake debris in Antakya in the southern province of Hatay, Türkiye, Feb. 11, 2023. (Xinhua/Shadati)
by Xinhua writer Wu Siyu
ANTAKYA, Türkiye, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Since the Chinese rescue team arrived in Türkiye's worst-hit Hatay Province Wednesday, Asim Latif Erdogdu, a 24-year-old student at Istanbul Technical University, has been our accompanying driver, working tirelessly with the team.
Erdogdu signed up for volunteer relief work immediately after the earthquake. "Every day, many university students like me come from Istanbul to offer help. I came here with 163 volunteers," he said.
As the driver of the Chinese rescue team, Erdogdu has been with us this entire time. He drives the Chinese rescue team members daily from the camp to the site to carry out search and rescue missions. He even participates in the rescue work himself.
With the help of voice translation software, Erdogdu and the team members have been able to overcome the language barrier.
Members from the Chinese Rescue Team of Ramunion conduct rescue work in Belen, Türkiye, Feb. 9, 2023. (Rescue Team of Ramunion/Handout via Xinhua)
"What impressed me most was that on Thursday, Chinese rescue teams, Turkish rescue teams and others were here together to save lives," he said, "I saw the scene, and it's hard for me to describe the feeling."
Witnessing the rescue teams from different countries fighting side by side to rescue survivors from the rubble, Erdogdu was deeply moved. Regardless of nationality, those at the rescue site are doing their best to save lives.
Working with local counterparts on Thursday, the Chinese rescue team pulled out a pregnant woman to safety in the wee hours of the morning and saved two more women from the ruins of collapsed buildings beyond the 72 hours critical for rescue work. As of Saturday noon local time, the Chinese rescue team in Antakya city in Hatay has successfully rescued four trapped people.
Erdogdu will continue to fight with us.
Editor's note: A powerful earthquake struck southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria on Monday. Tens of thousands of people are confirmed dead across Türkiye and Syria, with the numbers expected to rise. The earthquake destroyed people's homes and local infrastructure. Relief supplies are pouring in. Search and rescue efforts are underway.
Journalists of Xinhua News Agency rushed to the epicenter and reported from the frontlines.■