KAHRAMANMARAS (Turkiye), March 3 (Bernama): Siham Suraj Ali’s passion for keeping birds as pets may well have been the saving grace for his family of seven after they managed to escape the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck this city on Feb 6.
The 55-year-old said the earthquake that hit southern and central Turkiye as well as northern and western Syria, was first detected by the birds, which he kept in his living room, when they began exhibiting strange behaviour.
Speaking to Bernama TV, with the help of local translator Mohammad Abdul Latif from the Turkish humanitarian NGO ATAA Relief, Siham Suraj said that alerted him and he told his wife, their three daughters and two sons to evacuate the house and stay in the compound.
"Shortly after, the earthquake struck but we all managed to escape outside. Our home was damaged,” he said.
Their home, located in the basement of a five-storey small-sized apartment, was mostly intact although cracks could be seen inside.
Worried about aftershocks, he decided to accept the temporary tent given by the authorities and set it up in his compound.
Siham Suraj said before the earthquake occurred, he could hear a very loud grumbling noise coming from below him which, he said, reminded him of the sound of a Scud missile being launched when his family was living in the north of Aleppo in Syria under Basyar Al-Assad’s regime.
Asked why he decided to migrate to Turkiye in 2013, the construction worker said that the town where his family previously lived was struck by a missile, adding that, at the time, he was determined to stay on.
"I came here in 2013 because the regime’s military entered my town and I wanted my family to be safe. One day, I might return to Syria,” he said. - Bernama