Afraid to sleep indoors: Child survivors of lethal quake left traumatized

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Abu Dhabi, UAE

“She used to jump up and down like a butterfly. Now, she is psychologically broken.”

Samer Sharif, 51, is speaking about his 15-year-old daughter Salma, who witnessed the loss of life of her brother and mom within the February 6 earthquake, and who for a number of days believed was orphaned earlier than unexpectedly being reunited along with her father.

After the earthquake struck, Sharif was informed that Salma, her 10-year-old brother Mohammed and his ex-wife had all died.

Standing earlier than the constructing that collapsed on prime of his household, in Antakya, southern Turkey, Sharif mentioned that he “met with death at that moment.”

“There is nothing left in Antakya. It’s all gone,” he informed CNN.

After sleeping on the streets for 2 days, Sharif left for Istanbul the place he stayed together with his sister and her husband.

While there he acquired some uncommon excellent news – his daughter was alive, and recovering in hospital.

The father and daughter had been re-united, and whereas they had been relieved, they are going to by no means be the identical – particularly Salma.

And Salma will not be the one one.

Around 4.6 million kids had been residing within the 10 Turkish provinces hit by the earthquake, in keeping with UNICEF, and an extra 2.5 million kids had been affected in neighboring Syria.

UNICEF added that households with kids are sleeping within the streets, malls, colleges, mosques, bus stations and underneath bridges, all afraid to sleep indoors ought to extra aftershocks deliver buildings down.

“I saw a lot of traumatized kids in Antakya,” mentioned 37-year-old Bilal Kazak, a Kazakhstan-born Turkish citizen who misplaced his mom and sister within the earthquake.

While meals, tents and caravans with some heating have arrived within the days following the earthquake, says Kazak, there nonetheless isn’t sufficient psychological well being help, particularly for kids.

Speaking to CNN’s Zain Asher, a spokesperson for Save the Children reduction group in Turkey, Oben Coban, mentioned that victims are displaying clear indicators of post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), particularly kids, a lot of whom have been left with out mother and father.

“What we are also seeing is that those children who have lost their education, their families, their hopes, they are now struggling to find a reason to keep themselves in this world,” mentioned Coban.

“At the moment, the only thing that can keep them in their lives is hope for the future.”

For victims in Syria, the earthquake is one other disaster amid a devastating 12-year civil battle.

Children and households who had been recovering from PTSD and ongoing trauma from the scars of battle are again in survival mode, Dr. Alexandra Chen, a trauma psychologist treating earthquake victims, informed CNN.

“For people who have slowly begun to recover and regain a sense of normalcy and rebuilt their lives over the last decade, this has been terrifying and destabilizing for both children and adults,” mentioned Chen. “Some are still in denial while others are experiencing hallucinations.”

The United Nations estimates over 30,000 lives have been misplaced within the Syrian civil battle. People had been already struggling to rebuild their lives, whereas hundreds fled the nation looking for refuge in close by international locations.

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While a semblance of routine had been established earlier than, Chen says the scenario has now modified.

“Prior to the earthquake, therapy was not emergency-based, and we had the time and the space to process very difficult things, especially for those who have experienced torture and sexual violence,” she mentioned, including that “we’re back in emergency mode.”

Chen says that assist staff are additionally struggling. Between dropping their very own relations and houses, whereas rescuing individuals from the rubble, their psychological well being has deteriorated amid the continuing rescue efforts, she mentioned.

Aid staff say that the psychological well being struggles are clear and are taking place amid wants for extra meals and shelter.

Making issues worse, the dangers of additional tremors haven’t gone away.

“Many people do not feel comfortable living inside (intact buildings),” mentioned Arlan Fuller, director of Emergency Response & Preparedness at Project Hope, a US-based non-profit, non-governmental group that helps healthcare staff in occasions of disaster. Fuller and Project Hope are at the moment on the bottom in Gaziantep.

“I’ve heard and seen many situations where people do not want to go back inside,” Fuller informed CNN, “Or when they are inside, they are constantly focusing on the chandelier, waiting for it to move.”

Many kids are clinging to their mother and father and might’t let go, he added, noting that repeated aftershocks solely act as triggers.

Aftershocks proceed to be felt throughout Turkey. Just on Monday, a magnitude 6.3 aftershock struck Turkey’s southern Hatay province, close to the Syrian border, killing a minimum of six individuals and injuring lots of.

The Turkish Red Crescent beforehand mentioned it’s offering “psychological first aid” to each adults and kids impacted by the earthquake, reported the state information company Anadolu. These embrace remedy classes, in addition to psychosocial help tents arrange by the ministry of household and the ministry of well being, added Anadolu.

Salma, 15, stays distraught. She spends most of her time on her telephone and refuses to correctly eat, her father Samer says.

“She wants to buy those little hot wheels car toys that Hammoudeh (her brother Mohammed’s nickname) loved to put them on her shelf to look at them and remember him,” mentioned Sharif.

“I keep trying to make her laugh, but it’s not like before.”

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to sentence Russia’s battle in Ukraine. While the decision isn’t binding, it sheds gentle on the place nations stand on this battle one yr because it began.

Among Middle East and Arab nations, solely Syria rejected the decision whereas Algeria, Iran and Sudan abstained. The relaxation supported it.

Last yr, lower than every week after Russia’s invasion, the identical UN physique handed a decision demanding that Russia withdraw all army forces from Ukraine. During that vote, all Arab and Middle Eastern states voted the identical means they did on Thursday apart from Iraq, which abstained.

The area has largely made clear that it helps Ukraine’s place on this battle – publicly a minimum of.

The behind-the-scenes diplomacy over the previous yr, nevertheless, tells a distinct story. Middle East nations have discovered themselves in a troublesome place, juggling between their obligations to their Western allies and their very own pursuits.

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The United Arab Emirates, for instance, abstained from a symbolic a UN Security Council decision condemning the battle on February 27 of final yr (Russia vetoed that decision). Less than every week later, it voted in favor of an analogous decision on the General Assembly. UAE officers have mentioned the battle demonstrates that the world order is not unipolar with the US at its helm. The UAE has additionally develop into a protected haven for a lot of Russian residents and companies because the battle.

Abu Dhabi, together with Saudi Arabia, additionally counts Russia as an ally within the OPEC+ oil cartel. That alliance permits member states to regulate the availability of oil, which in flip determines costs. The US warned Saudi Arabia final yr that limiting the availability of oil could be tantamount to supporting Russia within the battle. That warning fell on deaf ears.

Iran, like Syria, is globally remoted and counts Russia as its major worldwide ally. But the Islamic Republic, whose leaders commonly launch tirades in opposition to overseas intervention and imperialism, has abstained from such votes as a substitute of vetoing them as Syria has. This is regardless of Tehran’s function as a participant within the battle by means of its provide of killer drones to Russia.

Israel, too, finds itself in a sophisticated scenario. While it has publicly opposed the battle, it has financial, cultural, political and safety concerns in its dealings with Russia. What it cares most about with Russia is its affect on Iran and its presence in Syria. Israel commonly carries out airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria, which it regards as vital to stop the switch of missile expertise to Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group. It normally communicates with the Russians forward of these strikes for deconfliction functions.

By Abbas Al Lawati

Turkey says might expertise extra aftershocks better than magnitude 5

Orhan Tatar, Turkey’s normal director of Earthquake and Risk Reduction (AFAD) mentioned on Thursday at a press convention that the nation might expertise extra giant aftershocks within the coming days, calling on residents to avoid broken buildings. Following the convention, a magnitude 5 aftershock struck the southern Hatay province.

  • Background: Since the primary 7.8 quake on February 6, authorities have registered 7,442 aftershocks AFAD mentioned on Tuesday. Forty-one of them had been between 5 and 6 magnitude and 450 of them had been between 4 and 5 magnitude.
  • Why it issues: Aftershocks have been frequent and lethal, have sophisticated restoration operations and rebuilding efforts and have prevented survivors from returning indoors.

Tunisian president denies racism however repeats view that migration is a plot

Tunisian President Kais Saied has repeated his assertion that a rise of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa was a part of a conspiracy to alter Tunisia’s demographics and denied criticism by rights teams that his views had been racist, Reuters reported.

  • Background: Saied on Tuesday ordered safety forces to halt all unlawful immigration into Tunisia and mentioned any undocumented migrants should depart, feedback that prompted some robust criticism. Speaking to Interior Minister Tawfiq Charfeddine in a video posted on-line, Saied mentioned his opponents had twisted his feedback with a view to unfold discord. Rights teams have accused Saied of racism and introduced plans to protest.
  • Why it issues: Tunisia is a significant departure level for migrants looking for to cross the Mediterranean and over the previous yr there was an enormous improve within the variety of Tunisians and different Africans making an attempt to succeed in Europe.
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Oman opens airspace to Israeli airways in landmark transfer

The Gulf state of Oman has opened its airspace to Israeli airways in a landmark transfer that may lower the carriers’ flights from Israel to Asia by as much as two hours. The nation’s civil aviation authority mentioned on Twitter that its “airspace is open for all carriers that meet the requirements of the authority for overflying.” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen tweeted that it was “another great step toward regional integration” and “a day of celebration for Israel.”

  • Background: The transfer follows Saudi Arabia’s resolution in July to open its personal airspace to Israeli carriers in a deal brokered by the United States. The Israeli overseas ministry mentioned on Thursday that the aviation announcement got here after months of talks with Omani authorities.
  • Why it issues: Israel wanted Oman’s approval to make use of the shorter hall to Asia. The transfer is a diplomatic victory for the Netanyahu authorities, which has made normalization with Arab nations a prime precedence. Oman has no diplomatic relations with Israel and normalization is a controversial subject as a consequence of Israeli-Palestinian battle. In December, the Gulf state’s elected Shura Council proposed tightening an Israel boycott legislation.
Funerary stones on display at a repatriation ceremony, hosted by Yemen's embassy in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Credit: Erica J. Knight

The US has repatriated 77 looted artifacts to Yemen, together with dozens of historical funerary stones linked to a disgraced New York artwork supplier and 11 folios from early Qurans.

But as a part of a landmark settlement the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, DC will take care of and retailer the objects for a minimum of two years as Yemen stays engulfed in a bitter civil battle.

Among the artifacts being returned are 65 funerary stones, often known as “stelae,” that date again to the second half of the primary millennium BC. Featuring engraved faces, a few of the objects include traces of pigment or inscriptions revealing the names of the deceased.

A museum spokesperson informed CNN that the stones had been most definitely looted from archaeological websites in northwestern Yemen. The Quranic folios are in the meantime thought up to now again to the ninth century. An inscribed bronze bowl can also be among the many cache of artifacts.

The partnership between the Smithsonian and Yemen’s authorities was introduced at a repatriation ceremony hosted by the nation’s embassy in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. As a part of the settlement, a few of the objects could possibly be publicly exhibited on the museum, together with in its present present “Ancient Yemen: Incense, Art, and Trade.” Yemen’s authorities could have the choice to increase the partnership after two years, relying on the state of unrest within the nation.

The nation’s ambassador to the United States, Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, mentioned in an announcement that “on behalf of the people and Government of Yemen, we are thrilled to see Yemen retaking ownership of its cultural heritage.”

Read extra concerning the artifacts right here.

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates Saudi Arabia's Founding Day, wearing local traditional clothes at Al-Nassr Football Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday.