People search through rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on February 6. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The massive Turkey-Syria earthquake on Monday morning has emotionally jolted several expats in the UAE as some of them reported losing their houses and others expressed deep concern about relatives being untraceable.

Turkish and Syrian expats have been frantically trying to get information about their loved ones back home and are praying for people in tremor-hit areas in their home countries.

Mustafa Esen, operations manager at Turkish Village Restaurant in Dubai, told Gulf News that it is feared that the earthquake has hit some of the employees’ families.

“Two of our employees have not been able to reach their families. They live in Gaziantep which has been one of the worst-hit areas,” said Esen.

Another employee’s house has been destroyed while the family has had a miraculous escape, he said.

Esen said a couple of his cousins, who are students back home, have also been affected by the quake.

Buildings destroyed

“The buildings where two of them stayed have been destroyed. Another cousin’s building has developed cracks and the authorities have not allowed entry.”

He said the freezing winter has added to the woes of the quake victims.

“It is so sad to hear of our people dying and suffering. It is also sad that so many buildings have been destroyed. We fear the Gaziantep Castle may have also been affected badly - it has been the identity of the place for thousands of years,” said Esen.

He said the company is taking care of the affected employees and helping them reach their families.

A spokesperson of Rixos Bab Al Bahr, a luxury resort in Ras Al Khaimah, said families of several Turkish employees are in areas heavily affected by the earthquake.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment. Our HR is calling all Turkish employees and we are providing necessary assistance. We hope that everyone is safe.”

Untraceable relatives

Meanwhile, Syrian expat in Dubai Maisa Eid said she has been concerned that two of her relatives have been untraceable after the earthquake.

“They are an aunt and uncle from two different families. Their buildings have collapsed in Jableh. But we don’t know what happened to them. We are very much concerned about their safety. We have been constantly trying to reach them,” said Eid, who works as a production assistant.

Another Syrian expat, Leen Khoudair, who works with a TV channel, said her relatives have suffered damages to their houses.

Syrian people who have already been suffering because of the war are now faced with thsi tragedy amid extremely cold weather conditions, she said..