Turkey earthquake: A Canadian family says embassy let them down after sister killed

The family of a Halifax woman who died in a devastating earthquake in Turkey earlier this month said they desperately tried to find her, but received no help from the Canadian embassy in the capital, Ankara.

After a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit a city in southern Turkey near the Syrian border on February 6, Saad and Muthana Zora flew to the city of Antakya to search for their missing sister Samar Zora.

Her body was recovered on February 14th.

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“The search has been very stressful and I am now trying to figure out how to work through the grief,” Saad Zola said in an interview with Global News.

While the Zoras arranged to fly to an earthquake-affected country to find their sisters, the brothers went through a lengthy process and the lack of action from the government led to their ordeal. He said it got worse.

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“They could have ripped the Band-Aid off earlier and said, ‘We can’t help,’ because essentially that’s what happened,” Saad said from Kuwait.

Samar Zora was doing his PhD research in Turkey when the devastating earthquake hit earlier this month.

photo courtesy

A Canadian citizen, Samar holds a PhD in Anthropology from Duke University in the United States.

She was in Turkey to do her research.

Saad said he provided all of his sister’s information, including his address in Antakya, to Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Embassy in Ankara.

He said the lack of urgency in assistance and the constant back-and-forth and “turning around” only added to their stress.

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Mussana said the Canadian embassy introduced him to the website and warned him that traveling to Turkey was too dangerous.

The two brothers went anyway.

Muthana flew in from Kuwait City and Saad flew in from Halifax.

They independently organized an excavation and found the body of their sister buried under the rubble of a collapsed building.

The Zoras now say they hope other Canadians don’t go through their ordeal.

“From my point of view, they are not doing anything, period,” said Muthana. “I mean, all the text messages and their interactions … with email, it’s just a process.

“I hope Canadians never go through this.”

The Zola brothers flew to Turkey to find their sister Samar after the February 6 earthquake.

Photo credit: Summer Steenberg

In response to Global News’ questions about the matter, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the thoughts of those involved are with Samar Zola’s family and friends.

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“Canadian consular officials in Ankara (Turkey) have contacted local authorities to gather additional information and to provide consular assistance to the family as needed.For privacy reasons, no further details are being released. You can’t,” said a spokesperson.

“Global Affairs Canada is committed to providing effective and efficient consular services to Canadians around the world. Each consular case is unique and the assistance we can provide will vary. .”

the Canadian government According to the website, International Consular Services This includes offering advice and guidance when a person goes missing, but each case is different and an event like a natural disaster “may mean we can’t help you.” I can’t.”

Born in Kuwait, the Zhora family said they were not citizens of the Gulf states but received more support from the Kuwaiti embassy.

“They made all the arrangements, arranged our flights, handled all the phone calls,” says Saad.

“It’s like a different world here.”

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Samar’s body was taken to Kuwait, where his parents live, last Friday.

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The family is now raising money for others directly affected by the quake, giving back to the people of Hatay province who were hit hardest.

by Thursday afternoon, Over $3,500 USD raised on our GoFundMe page.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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