The group of volunteers has returned to Albania after staying in the areas affected by the earthquakes for about a week, engaging in search and rescue operations in Malatya, while they tearfully recount their experiences and work in the field
After the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, in addition to the team of the Ministry of Defense of Albania, a group of Albanian volunteers, who have returned to Albania, were engaged in search and rescue operations in Turkey.
The group of volunteers, consisting of 10 people, returned to Albania on February 15 by plane, after staying in the areas affected by the earthquakes for about a week, engaging in search and rescue operations in Malatya, meanwhile, they confess through tears about Anatolia and emotions, experiences and field work.
The head of the group of volunteers and at the same time the head of the Voluntary Center for Civil Emergencies of Albania, Nebi Muçaj, says that a touching moment for them as a team was when they found a dead father and son under the ruins hugging each other.
"When we found a dead person, it was a pain as if it were a family member"
Muçaj said that the scenes were unfortunately dramatic where their forces operated, taking out only victims. He confesses that when we found a dead person, "it was really a pain to say honestly as if he was one of our family members".
"The episode that was the most touching not only for me, but for all the teams that were there was finding the father and son eternally embraced under the rubble. It was very painful for everyone. First we saw the child's hand, then by digging gradually the body of the child's father was also discovered, wrapped as a father 'captures' his child in that daily love, so we saw him embraced, this embrace is eternal", he said. Muchaj.
He tearfully said that the family members were there in the surroundings of the building where they were working with the hope that one of their people was coming out alive, but also their lifeless person.
"At one point I saw a picture of a newly married couple which hit me in the heart when I saw it and in those moments I thought that life is sacred, it is temporary. But looking at that happiness, that smile in that photo mixed with that ruin, with those stones, bars, makes you reflect that life is precious. It has remained in my memory and it seems to me that I have that picture inside my heart", said Muçaj.
Another volunteer from Albania was Shkëlzen Shatri, assigned as a search-rescue and first aid specialist, while for Anadolu he says that they started the operation without interruption, digging and praying to God to save lives.
"I was very excited to get to where we were set to operate as soon as possible, to give it our all, to get some life out of that wreckage. We also found members of our army forces there," he said.
A very painful and very touching event, he says, was the moment when "we saw the scene when a father was taken out with his son, where the father had put his hand over him to protect him. It was really something that touched you deeply."
On his return to Albania, Shatri exchanged with a Turkish soldier a coat of arms with their surnames, giving each other coats of arms with their surnames, which he wore during operations alongside the coat of arms given to him by a Turkish officer during a the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when it was part of the Albanian Army.
"I remember this coat of arms from a Turkish officer in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009. I also received a surname of another soldier. I gave him my surname, he asked me to exchange them and I happily gave it to him, he gave me his surname Atas, this exchange of surnames happened at Malatya airport", said Shatri.
"There we used to say if we remove a stone, we might save a life"
Part of the team of volunteers from Albania was also Bujar Rrapo, appointed as a specialist for the search under the ruins, where he tearfully says that the citizens expected from them what they would tell you about the search and rescue operations and finding their relatives.
"Here in Tirana we have (the expression) plant a tree, donate a life, there we used to say if we remove a stone, maybe we save a life. The moment when we found a person (dead), we found his legs, that was the worst moment. We collected that gravel by hand, we didn't think we would break, we wanted to have a hope to get someone out alive, but it was impossible," he said.
Rrapo said that "the most painful episode was that I will remember for the rest of my life a family member screaming, calling and ringing his brother's phone".
"The phone was working, but I couldn't hear voices. At that moment we entered under the ruins, we entered below, but we did not hear voices. We went out again, he was looking us in the eyes and I still remember his great pain. Later, the dead body was unfortunately found", says Rrapo.
Also, an aid mission from the Armed Forces of Albania and the National Civil Defense Agency, consisting of a total of 73 medical personnel, search and rescue specialists, as well as some vehicles, was sent to Turkey to participate in the operations. of search and rescue./ Anadolu Agency