Turkey Earthquake: "The Turks applauded us even before we reached the rubble," describes a Greek rescuer

Turkey earthquake

The Greek Rescue Team returned last night to Thessaloniki from the affected areas of Turkey. With applause and tears of joy, the families of the rescuers welcomed the 27 volunteers, who assisted in the search for the rescue of human lives, in the areas leveled by the deadly earthquake.

Giorgos Lakias, a member of the Team who returned from Turkey, spoke to ERT this morning, speaking with emotion about what he experienced in Turkey and the tragic images of destruction unfolding in front of him.

“The most shocking moment was in the city of Adıyaman. We knew that the earthquake had brought down buildings, but what we saw was beyond all imagination," he said initially about what he saw. "We must focus on hope."

"We had our equipment in a playground and while we were sending tools and people to help, a little kid came and just did a slide. This is hope," he added.

Then, as he said, what they faced was hopeless: "On the last day we attempted, there were many workshops and we had three fallen buildings. Those we have spoken to say that they experienced something unprecedented."

"You cannot imagine the magnitude of the devastation. We entered a ruined city, it had hundreds of dishes to remove the debris, people try to warm themselves with improvised fires and cook for the volunteers."

As he also said, because the mission was late in arriving, "we focused on finding the living", while regarding the reception of the Greeks by the Turks, Giorgos Lakias said: "It was incredible, they were standing up and applauding us even before we reached the ruins."

Finally, the Greek rescuer said that "our families are next to us and support us. When you come home, it is a difficult time. We came from a place where we saw evil and you identify with it without wanting to. I didn't say anything to my daughters, all we did was hug."

READ MORE: Turkey Earthquake: The Turks thanked the Greek rescuers with red roses.

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