Sunderland dad from Turkey loses family members in horrific earthquake

Kasif Demir is a Turkish man who has made his life in Sunderland. Settling down in the Barnes 17 years ago, he married a local woman named Zoe and had two children, Kaya and Connor.

His hometown, however, Antakya in the south of Turkey, was unfortunately the epicentre of the catastrophic earthquake on Monday which has killed over 16,000 people so far.

While sleeping on the early hours of Monday morning, he received a WhatsApp message from his sister informing him that she was “fine”.

However, that was the last time he heard from her. Her fate remains unknown.

As the world watched in horror at scenes of buildings collapsing like cards, many members of Kasif’s family have been trapped beneath the rubble, are missing, or have been confirmed to have passed away.

His brother in law, Fatih and his five-year-old daughter, perished in the disaster. His Nephew and wife have also died.

Tragically, his brother-in-law, Fatih and his five-year-old daughter were killed in the earthquake, with Kasif’s nephew and his wife also dying.

Stressed and horrified, Kasif has contemplated returning to his home town, even driving there if he has to. However, it has not proved to be possible due to the scale of the damage.

“It’s a desperate situation”, Kasif added, “they’re struggling for food and water and are just trying to survive. People under the rubble are screaming.”

He said: “I was told there would be no use in me driving there, so I’ve been thinking non-stop about what I could do. In the end, my wife and I came up with the idea of fundraising – people are in need of water, food and necessities, and the best thing to do to help would be to raise funds and support them that way.”

As a result, he is now turning to fundraising to help his home town, and he has started up a GoFundMe to contribute to the relief effort.

The earthquake is the worst to strike Turkey since 1939.