Turkey Earthquake: Ghanaian midfielder Priscilla Okyere narrates how she escaped

Ghanaian midfielder, Priscilla Okyere who plays for Hatayspor in southern Turkey is one of the survivors of the earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday.

Hatayspor is the club whose men’s team Okyere’s compatriot Christian Atsu plays for. Atsu, along with the club’s sporting director Taner Savut, remains missing.

Priscilla speaking with BBC Africa revealed how terrified she was after surviving the devastating earthquake.

“Even today, we had a safe place to sleep. I haven’t closed my eyes from 5am til now.

“When someone bangs the door, I wake up because I’m scared. I don’t want to close my eyes and realize this thing is happening again,” she said.

Crying for days
Okyere is now in Ankara, Turkey’s capital after her coach arranged for her and her seven roommates to leave Hatay after the earthquake.

But the ordeal left her scarred.

“I was terrified. I cried for days,” she explained.

“I can’t imagine how lucky we were to get out from that situation, because most people couldn’t get out. But we were able to.”

Okyere joined Hatayspor six months ago from Israeli club Tel-Aviv Beersheva.

Like most people who live in southern Turkey, the club’s players had felt tremors before. So when the earthquake struck in the early hours of Monday, she believed it was normal.

“We had to shower and then get some sleep. At first, I thought I was dreaming because since we came to Hatay, I experienced (tremors) it two times. Sometimes the building would just shake within 30 seconds and it stops.

“When it happened, I thought it was a normal thing but I realized this was much more intense than the previous ones.”

She went to check on her teammates, and then hurried outside as all around her began to crumble.

“When I got down, the buildings were just collapsing, and everybody was crying, trying to find shelter,” she said.

“It was raining heavily outside, and everyone was cold. We were not wearing any jackets – nothing. We had gone outside barefoot.

“We weren’t even thinking about how cold we were at that moment. What we wanted to think about was how to get our passports.

“We had to find a shelter in someone’s car for almost five hours before the whole thing calmed down, and then we were able to go back to the house.”

Though badly damaged, the building Okyere and her teammates lived in had not collapsed. But they had to leave the area, and with all public transport suspended, they wandered the streets looking for food.

They were immediately concerned that there was no way to get in contact with their families back home, even as news began to filter out to the wider world of the quake.

“The first thing that came into my mind was my mother, because she’s always worried about where I am always want to know what is going on,” Okyere said.

“But you could call within Turkey, So I spoke to my agent, and I gave him my mother’s number so he could to talk with her and make sure that everything is okay.”

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