30 teachers, 8 students killed after Turkey quake

The Directorate of Religious Affairs also released a statement on Wednesday that 10 students attending its Quran courses had lost their lives during the quake.

The Ministry of Education has announced that 30 teachers and eight students were killed in the earthquake in Van province on Sunday.

The ministry said that of the 30 teachers, 24 had died in Erciş and six in the city of Van. Eight students were also killed in a collapsed school building in a village of Van. The ministry also said that a further six students were injured in the same building collapse.

The Directorate of Religious Affairs also released a statement on Wednesday that 10 students attending its Quran courses had lost their lives during the quake. The directorate stated that a building where a Quran course was being held had collapsed during the quake. In addition to the 10 deaths, a further four or five students are still believed to be trapped. At this stage it is unknown whether they are still alive.

The directorate added that one person was killed in a village in Muş province when the minaret of a mosque collapsed during the quake. Around 20 people in Muş were injured during the earthquake.

The statement went on to say that the directorate had sent aid supplies to the earthquake zone, including 26 electric stoves, 140 blankets and 730 sleeping bags, as well as burial shrouds.

Tragic stories of five teachers

One of the teachers killed in the quake was 25-year-old Okay Yaşar, who was a teacher at a state school in Erciş. According to a friend who was with him when the quake occurred, Yaşar had overcome lymphoma only to be killed in this earthquake. His friend said they were walking on the street when Yaşar was hit on the head by falling concrete from collapsing buildings.

A young primary school teacher, Zehra Şelale (22), was killed in Erciş, which was her first teaching job since graduating. Şelale was in her car with her husband, who is also a teacher, when a building collapsed on their vehicle. The young teacher died at the scene while her husband was critically injured.

Newly married couple Özgür and Emel Subaşıay, who were teachers in Van’s Gürpınar district, were killed when their seven-storey building collapsed. The couple, who married in July, were at home with two other family members when the earthquake occurred. Their lifeless bodies had to be cut free from the debris.

Nigar Gençel (23), another teacher in Erciş, was also killed under a collapsed building. The young teacher’s body was taken to her hometown of Tokat, where she was buried on Monday. Talking to reporters following the funeral, her father, Rahim Gençel, said: “My daughter had only been teaching for 52 days. My son was there, too, but he was able to escape out from under the debris because he was outside when the quake occurred. Nigar lived on the fourth floor and my son lived on the second floor of the same building.”

Commenting about conditions in Erciş after the quake, Gençel said: “Conditions in the district are very bad. Every two out of three buildings in the district have collapsed.”

Cihan

2011 Tuesday