March 30, 2023

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In Antakya, southern Turkey, solidarity was organized among women after the earthquake

Antioch is no more. In the ancient city located in the south of Turkey, formerly known as Antioch, only the ruins of the buildings remain, which are clearly visible throughout the day. Between the two mountains of rubble, there is a crossroads of shovels and trucks loaded with the last pieces of furniture that the lucky ones managed to save. All are fleeing the region after several of its aftershocks, such as the Feb. 6 earthquake that killed more than 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria, and the Feb. 20 quakes.

“After the earthquake, violence has increased. Women come to say that their husbands beat them inside the car or in the tent where they now live. » Sigtem Serin, a volunteer

About 1.4 million people are staying in tents, while others sleep in cars, parks or on the streets, according to AFAD, the government’s natural disaster management agency. Dozens of tents and food distribution stations or mobile kitchens run by NGOs line the green corridors of Chewki Park. “Point of Female Unity”, A white screen hung on a pergola reads.

Behind the curtain, three tents and a “ladies cafe” with its box seats, its improvised litter box. Clementine peels burn on the stove and a teapot smokes. Half a dozen women, some wearing the feminine symbol of purple loincloths, others with headscarves and sandals on their feet, drink tea. Created by feminist network Godin Sounmasi, the space welcomes disaster victims.

read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers “The earthquake in Turkey is the disaster of the century and the government bears enormous responsibility for the scale of human and material losses.”
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“I like extra large pieces”, asks Furusan, a large brown and purple scarf covering his entire head. Since the earthquake, the 50-year-old woman has been living in a car with her husband. Even though her house is standing, she is afraid to enter. “For the first five days, we couldn’t change underwear. she says with a shy smile. We didn’t dare to ask the NGOs for them, when a girl told us that they gave towels or panties to such a place, we went there. We kept our heads down and whispered so that no one could hear. »

A country where menstruation is banned

On February 10, when US company Codex announced it would donate 1 million sanitary napkins to disaster areas, men took to Twitter to criticize the gesture in a country where menstruation is banned. Women speaking out online about the lack of these products have received messages asking them to show some dignity. At the Women’s Solidarity stage, 200 women order health care every day that they wouldn’t dare to do anywhere else.

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