Touching video reveals moment of hope in earthquake-ravaged Turkish city

A team of rescuers in Turkey is helping to reunite pets with desperate owners who have have lost everything else in the earthquakes.

Heartwarming video has captured the moment a stray dog displaced during Turkey’s earthquake sought affection from an Australian rescuer.

It was a glimmer of hope in a region where 50,000 people are believed to have died since the February 6 disaster flattened the city.

Georgie Dolphin from Humane Society International said the dog seemed in good health and was happy to have a quick nibble of her food and then move on, but there are other thousands of other animals in need of help. She’s part of a multi-national contingent in Antakya, one of the country's worst-hit cities, working for the charity to reunite pets with desperate owners, many of whom lost everything else.

“Some people have lost all of their family members, and if we can find their pet and reunite them it gives them a lifeline, it gives them something to live for,” Ms Dolphin told Yahoo News Australia on Thursday evening. “We’re going to do everything we can to find those animals for them.”

Antakya where the stray dog (right) was fed is one of the worst-hit cities in Turkey. Source: Getty/HSI
Antakya where the stray dog (right) was fed is one of the worst-hit cities in Turkey. Source: Getty/HSI

Race against time to save displaced animals in earthquake zone

Many of the buildings across Antakya are unstable and recent rain is worsening the problem, prompting authorities to demolish them. Ms Dolphin and the team are racing against time, scouring the city to get both strays and pets to safety before they’re knocked down. “The thought of animals being in there is just awful,” she said.

Describing the broken city as “like nothing (she’s) ever seen before”, Ms Dolphin, who arrived on Sunday is still struggling to comprehend the scale of the tragedy. “There’s a really sad smell of death in the area and piles of rubble. You can see people’s belongings and personal items everywhere. That’s their lives.”

While the team continues searching for lost animals, displaced locals have shared images of loved ones buried beneath the rubble. Pet owners are also scouring the city, hoping to find their cats and dogs.

“There was a cat on the eighth floor that had been trapped inside since the sixth of February and we were searching for signs of life,” Ms Dolphin said. “Unfortunately we had news yesterday that the owners managed to enter their apartment but sadly their cat had passed away.”

Because so many veterinary practices have been destroyed, temporary field clinics set up across the city. HSI estimates around 1500 animals have been treated. They’ve been suffering from infected wounds and eyes, dehydration, starvation and shock, but sadly it believes tens of thousands of animals died after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck.

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