Photos: Life in a cemetery after Turkey’s earthquakes

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Tasked with burying a whole bunch of victims of Turkey’s large earthquakes, undertaker Ali Dogru introduced his spouse and 4 sons to stay in an outdated bus by the cemetery the place he works within the metropolis of Iskenderun.

Last month’s devastating earthquakes killed greater than 54,000 individuals in Turkey and Syria and left tens of millions homeless. Survivors are sheltering in tents, container properties, lodge resorts, college dormitories and even practice carriages after a whole bunch of hundreds of buildings collapsed and others had been left unsafe.

Worried about his household’s security, Dogru moved his household to the cemetery from their broken condo shortly after the primary earthquake struck on February 6. They have been living in an deserted bus there since.

In his greater than six years working on the cemetery, the 46-year-old undertaker sometimes buried round 5 our bodies a day. The first evening after the earthquake, he buried 12 individuals. The every day numbers of incoming our bodies started to soar and inside 10 days of the quake, he had organized the burials of a complete of 1,210 victims.

He can deal with living in a cemetery, he mentioned, however the excessive variety of burials over such a brief time frame has left him with deep psychological scars.

A former butcher, Dogru likened the sight of individuals carrying their lifeless members of the family to the cemetery to individuals carrying lambs as sacrificial choices for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

“As a butcher, I used to see people bring lambs in their arms to be sacrificed. It hit me very hard when I saw people carrying their children, their partners,” he mentioned.

With so many burials to rearrange, Dogru needed to discover heavy equipment to dig graves and coordinate with the tens of imams who got here from throughout Turkey to assist.

“All I wanted was one thing: to work day and night to finish this job. I didn’t want people coming and saying that the bodies were not buried,” he mentioned, including there have been no mass graves.

Dogru mentioned he buried some kids and oldsters who died in one another’s arms in the identical grave and stopped individuals from separating them. “I said: ‘Death could not separate this child from the mother or the father. Why would you do so?’”

Dogru additionally helped officers {photograph} unidentified our bodies, and take fingerprints and blood and DNA samples. He later confirmed households to the graves of their family members, after they’d been discovered by blood exams.