Harambee Stars’ head coach Firat and family safe after Turkey’s deadliest earthquake, calls for prayers to the country

National senior men football team Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has today said that he is safe with his family, a day after the Turkish authorities called off their rescue efforts following the deadly earthquake that hit the country on January 23, leaving at least 41, 000 people dead.

The 7.8 magnitude quake hit the cities of Antakya and Kahmaranmaraş.

“Thank you very much for your concerns. me and my family we were not affected by the deadly earthquake because I come far from cities that were affected, but it’s a big tragedy, the situation is much worse than what we see in the media and we need prayers for the country,” Firat who is expected in Nairobi early next month said.

Turkey has said rescue teams have stopped recovery efforts in all but two hardest-hit provinces, a fortnight after the catastrophic earthquake that laid waste to parts of the country.

“Search and rescue efforts have been completed in many of our provinces. They continue in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay provinces,” said Disaster Relief Agency chief Yunus Sezer during a press briefing in Ankara.

Efforts, however, will continue in the cities of Antakya and Kahmaranmaraş, which were rendered largely uninhabitable by the 7.8 magnitude quake, which killed more than 41,000 people in southern Turkey and at least 4,000 more in neighbouring Syria.

The quake’s epicentre was in Pazarcik district in Kahramanmaraş, where thousands of buildings collapsed and much of the city lies in ruins.

Sezer said search and rescue efforts continued at about 40 buildings in the provinces, but expected this number to fall by Sunday evening. In Antakya, rescue teams continued to pore over rubble during the weekend, rescuing a man and a woman who had survived for 13 days. The couple’s three children perished.

Large teams of rescuers remained at the ready but largely confined to tented bases in parklands near the city’s centre, which was at the heart of a contentious construction boom that saw large numbers of buildings rapidly constructed over the past two decades.

Hopes of finding more survivors are close to zero, as officials now turn to how to repair the devastation that has forced millions of people from their homes. Many have sought refuge in neighbouring towns and cities, where an international aid effort that was slow has now ramped up.

The UK development minister, Andrew Mitchell, arrived in the Turkish city of Gaziantep on Sunday to inspect post-earthquake aid projects funded by Britain, the cost of which amount to more than £34m.

MG Team

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