Death comes when you least expect it.
While the earth is still shaking on all sides on February 6, 2023, 17-year-old Taha Erdem thinks he is living his last moments.
As Turkey and Syria are hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, his building collapses on top of him.
If I try to move over there, there is a hole, if I try to crawl, the ceiling has fallen
”, describes the teenager in a video relayed on social networks.
It's still shaking here, it's not my hands that are shaking, it's the earthquake.
Buried under rubble of concrete and steel, Taha Erdem is trapped.
"I can't get out of here by myself,"
he says, still shaken by the powerful tremors of the earthquake.
Without a quick emergency intervention, he thinks he is condemned and begins to say goodbye to his family with whom he lives in Adiyaman, in the south of Turkey.
I think I lost my father and my mother
,” continues the eldest of three siblings (Semanur, 13, and Yigit Cinar, 9).
There are many things that I regret, may Allah forgive my sins,
he says, continuing with prayers.
There are so many things I would like to do if I get out of here alive
When he no longer believes in it, his neighbors manage to extricate him from the rubble two hours later and save his life.
He is taken to one of his aunts, who is still alive.
Read alsoIn the ruins of Adiyaman, the buried promises of the “new Turkey”
He then thinks he has lost the rest of his family.
But his parents, brother and sister were finally able to be saved ten hours after the collapse of their house by other neighbors who lifted the rubble with their bare hands.
Four days after the earthquake, the Erdem family is reunited again in one of the shelters set up by the Turkish government.
I have nothing left, but I have my children
," breathes Zeliha, the mother of the family, to the Associated Press journalists who collected this testimony.
Seeing the videos of her completely destroyed neighborhood, she remembers having shouted her son's name for hours, hoping that they could
“die together, like a family.
Almost fifteen days after the earthquake, Taha and his parents returned to their building in ruins.
The death toll now stands at over 44,000.