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asiaone - 23 days ago

Turkish teen who was buried under rubble after earthquake is now in Singapore with family: We weren t sure if we would survive

SINGAPORE - At about 4.15am on Feb 6, 2023, 14-year-old Mustafa Akpinar was trapped under the rubble of what was once a 13-storey building. The concrete from the structure that was once the teenager s home, in the city of Kahramanmaras in Turkey, had entombed him, his two sisters and mother, after two devastating earthquakes hit the country. It was winter, and temperatures were as low as 2 deg C. The family did not know that dozens of their neighbours had been killed as they slept. After three days, without food and water, Mustafa and his family were rescued. The earthquakes of magnitudes 7.8 and 7.6 ravaged Turkey and neighbouring Syria, and affected 14 million people. More than 53,000 people died and around 680,000 homes were destroyed in Turkey, leaving millions homeless. Nearly 6,000 died in Syria, although the death tolls for both countries are believed to be much higher. Exactly a year on, Mustafa, now 15, spoke to The Straits Times while sitting at The Mediterranean Deli Turk restaurant in Far East Plaza in Orchard Road. The restaurant belongs to his uncle Ahmet Akpinar, 43, who is also its executive chef.


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