The regions affected by the twin earthquakes are home to 13.4 million people, including as many as 2 million refugees, primarily from Syria. More than a week after two massive earthquakes leveled a swathe of Türkiye's southeastern region, thousands of people have left the quake-hit zone in search of a new life in other cities.
"To return and live there seems very difficult as there is extensive damage. From now on, I would like to continue my life here and go to school in Ankara," said Orcun Kabatas, a teenager from Hatay province. He satays at a relief center that is home to around 3,500 survivors.
Furkan Kurt, a 14-year-old student from Adiyaman province, said that the family of his cousin was killed under the rubble of their building.
"We do not want to return to Adiyaman because all houses have been destroyed, and there is nowhere to live there anymore. I want to go to school and become a police officer, and this is my biggest dream," the boy said.
According to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, at least 216,347 earthquake victims have been evacuated by the government to other cities following the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria on Feb. 6.
The tweet reads, "Turkey: The fault in Hatay province. The images show a crack in the ground as a result of the devastating earthquakes in the country."
But this number doesn't include hundreds of thousands of survivors who left the zone by their own means since the first day of the tragedy, to live with relatives or friends or to make do with urgent social assistance provided to them.
Over two million people have scattered in towns like Mersin, Antalya, Izmir , Istanbul, and the capital city of Ankara. While some survivors want to settle down and begin their new life outside the disaster zone, some are eager to return to their hometowns as soon as possible.
"In the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province, where I live, the damage is colossal, up to 400 buildings collapsed," said Bayram Sahinoz, a car wash worker, who is keen to return to his hometown with his wife.
"I think that we will temporarily stay here for several months until recovery and relief efforts are stepped up in Elbistan, and we will eventually return home," he added.
Local authorities in Türkiye and Syria updated on Monday, a week after the earthquakes, the death toll, which, in total and preliminarily, still amounts to more than 36,000 between both nations. pic.twitter.com/EWRqxTQFjg