The first 12 hours
The right side of Elcin’s body is trapped. It’s completely dark, but she can still feel her daughter Elena, pressed against her left arm.
“I couldn’t see anything, but I could smell the dust of the debris, and it was heavy in my lungs.”
The shaking starts again. An aftershock.
“I could not hear my mother or son and didn’t know where they were when our house fell.”
She is able to talk to Elena. Her daughter says that she does not want to die.
Elcin tries to calm her and tells her that everything is going to be fine. That they will survive.
“I felt when my daughter died. We were trapped for 12 hours, and then she was gone.”
Even though it is completely dark, Elcin knows the exact time it happened. She says she heard it. She doesn’t elaborate.
She hears the morning and evening prayer calls, even though all the mosques surrounding her have collapsed. She has no explanation for this.
“When I was alone,” she says. “I did not want to live anymore.”
On the second day trapped under the debris, Elcin hears voices above her.
“The bodies of the people living on the second and third floor of my building were being found. I could hear their family members screaming when they started carrying them out.”
She tried to call out to them, but she no longer has the strength in her voice.
Elcin only remembers darkness.
Breathing has become harder. It is cold and water drops are falling on her.
Then, in the dark and cold, she suddenly hears her ex-husband’s voice above her, calling her name, calling his children’s names.
“He told me that my father survived, but that they did not find my mother or son. At 1:13 p.m. the technical team reached me, but I told them to take my daughter’s body out first. I didn’t want her lying there any longer.”
She has been trapped under the debris for 81 hours. They find the bodies of her mother and son four days later.