Student And His Family Rescued From Rubble After Posting Location on WhatsApp

Desperate earthquake survivors like Boran Kubat are using Instagram and WhatsApp to plead with rescuers to find them, as the death-toll from the quake is projected to hit 20,000.
boran kubat whatsapp turkey
photo: boran kubat

People have been rescued from the rubble of apartment blocks in Turkey in the aftermath of a series of devastating earthquakes by posting urgent cries for help on social media.

The three quakes and their aftershocks have killed over 11,000 people across Turkey and Syria so far. The death toll could be higher than 20,000, aid agencies warn, with many people still stuck under the rubble.

The rescue efforts have become a deadly race against time, as rescuers struggle to reach some of the worst impacted areas.


With resources stretched, people have taken matters into their own hands. 

Boran Kubat, a 20-year-old student from Istanbul, was in Malatya visiting relatives when the second earthquake struck on Monday afternoon. Malatya, in eastern Turkey, was badly hit by the quake, and Kubat was trapped under the rubble of an apartment block with his relatives.

The family had re-entered the block after it survived the first quake in the early hours of Monday morning, but the building came tumbling down in the second, 7.5 magnitude quake in the afternoon. 

Kubat shortly afterwards uploaded a video to WhatsApp, describing his address in detail and begging for help. 

“Whoever sees this WhatsApp status, please come and help. Please everyone come and rescue us now.” 

The detail he provided meant rescuers were able to find the family and haul Kubat and his mother and uncle from the wreckage. 

“I had my telephone with me, so I thought that if I shared a video on social media, my friends could see it and they could reach us,” he told Reuters, standing by the rubble. “And that is how they found us.” 

Firat Yayla, a YouTuber called Charmquell, posted a video on his Instagram Stories begging for help under a pile of concrete in Antakya, a city in the hard-hit Hatay province. “I don’t know if I’ll die or stay alive,” he said.


He later told his followers on Instagram that he had been saved, but his mother was still stuck, Al Jazeera reported

A man tweeting under the name Can Türker tweeted that he was stuck under a collapsed hotel with his wife and child.  

“The stairs collapsed, we are stuck on the third floor. We are still shaking. Please help,” he tweeted.

He said he was later rescued by friends.

Another man, posting under the name Mehmet Burak Kılınc, tweeted to beg for help rescuing relatives in Antakya. 

“My brother @Ukilincc, his wife @tugbaserifler and their little baby are under the collapse of the Nile, please help. We can't reach them,” he wrote on Monday morning, tagging in local groups.  

On Tuesday, he said his relatives were still trapped, and tweeted: “No one came.”

On Wednesday morning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Kahramanmaraş, a city in southeastern Turkey close to the epicentre of the first earthquake, as public discontent grows around the rescue effort. 

He said: “I would like to point out something in particular, until today, my people have always shown resilience and patience, and I’m confident that my people will show patience to go through this disaster too.”

He added: “There were a few shortcomings during the first day for sure, but things got better on the second day, and today, and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”