Kubilay Ozturk was 14 years old when an earthquake of 7.3 magnitudes devastated Turkey’s industrial heartland in 1999. “Though young, I helped the rescuers in Golcuk, where I lived. When I was older, I trained as one with Turkey’s disaster agency AFAD,” the forklift operator told Al-Monitor.
When he woke up in the early hours of Monday to the news that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake had occurred in his hometown of Elbistan, a district of the southern province of Kahramanmaras, he simply got in his car and drove 930 kilometers (577 miles) across Turkey to reach his family, who lived there. He reached his family home just when a second earthquake of 7.6 magnitudes centered in Kahramanmaras’ Elbistan district rocked the region.