LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The death toll in Turkey has continued to climb a week after devastating earthquakes destroyed entire cities.
More than 35,000 people are dead and rescue efforts are still underway. Those effects are being felt right here in Las Vegas when a community member lost at least nine of his family members.
Gunes Zeytunlu, better known by his friends and family as “G,” has never faced such loss.
“It’s been a tough week last week. First three or four days straight I couldn’t sleep at all. Both my wife and I, all we did was sit and cry because nothing helps.”
So far nine of his family members were killed either during the quakes or days after while waiting to be found.
“On the second day, they were still alive, and we know this because they were texting things like ‘we are alive,’ and ‘we are okay,’ and ‘please come and rescue us.'”
Gunes tried everything he could to get rescuers to his family using his connections and social media but unfortunately, help never arrived in time.
A volunteer rescue worker himself with Red Rock Search and Rescue, he understands what these rescue workers are going through. He spent nine years in Las Vegas. He got married and they had their first child here. Now they reside mostly in the Dallas area.
His family is still waiting for more answers.
“We are trying to be hopeful and happy. Now trying to support my family members who lost other family members, friends, their houses, and workplaces. Pretty much everything is destroyed.”
Gunes said entire cities are wiped out, thousands of lives lost, entire livelihoods gone, and even ancient history destroyed. It’s hard to even comprehend what all happened.
“Disaster, catastrophe, or earthquake. All these words are not enough to describe the situation.”
While facing all the challenges and pain, they’re focused on helping those that lived while honoring the lives that were lost.
“I hope no one in the world goes through this kind of pain. No person ever.”
You can find his family’s GoFundMe page here.