HATAY, Turkey – CBN's Operation Blessing has broken ground in Turkey, purifying water in Hatay – hopeful to give countless people throughout the region fresh water.
While it's a major moment for volunteers on the ground, the vast trauma left behind from the earthquakes is immeasurable.
"It was like the end of the world," said one survivor. "We thought that we would die."
Locals say the day the earth shook will likely be a point of conversation here for years to come.
"In one moment – 10,000 worlds collapsed," said another survivor name Neriman.
Neriman is a former schoolteacher born and raised in Hatay; a region surrounded by beautiful mountains – famous for its cuisine and archaeology. The recent earthquakes, however, erased much of the life there.
"There's no school to work at, most of my students are dead now," Neriman said. "The rest have relocated."
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Widespread damage leaves much of the country under a state of emergency. Many survivors suffer from post-traumatic stress.
"The trauma and despair is something that is tangible," said Diego Traverso with Operation Blessing. "We see it through the eyes of the kids that they suffer this, through the eyes of their families and their beloved ones."
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Traverso has been on the ground since the first quake struck. The base of operations in this Hatay village has been a refuge for people who have nothing.
"And people have seen this love through hot water, through medicine – through just listening to them and sharing," Traverso said.
Using reverse osmosis, OB's water engineer, Jose Esquer is now able to purify up to 300 gallons of water per day from the local well. The pivotal moment replaces the short-term need of water bottles.
"We did it," Esquer said. "We have clean water – pure water for the people."
Traverso says the water is even cleaner than the water they sell in the stores. OB plans to allocate necessary resources to share clean water throughout the region.
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