Noise flooded the news room as the team at Winston’s Press rushed to make the four o’clock deadline. They were a small publication company in southern Ontario and the team of four reporters pounded their keyboards to get articles finished in time. Dan Cross was a stickler for things being completed by the deadline, and he was even more thrilled if articles were handed in early.
There were several stories that day – it was the Wednesday before Halloween and it felt like the world was getting more spooky as the week went on. Amy West hated this time of year. It wasn’t really just that she had a problem with the evil connotations of the holiday; that it promoted the focus on ghosts, goblins, witches and the like. She hated what it did to people – the office pranks, the spooky stories… she couldn’t take it anymore.
Unfortunately, the news world wasn’t that much prettier. Between Europe’s financial crisis, the earthquake in Turkey, and floods in Thailand, things looked pessimistic to say the least. Today, Amy was focusing on the earthquake in Turkey. She’d written an article earlier in the week when the earthquake had hit and now wanted to focus on the aftermath, the reactions, and where the country would go from here.
Turkey was finally going to be accepting foreign aid; that was the good news. They had initially been declining offers to help, but Amy guessed that they were finally admitting that the chaos was bigger than they could handle. More than 2,000 buildings had been destroyed and people needed accommodations fast.
Today, a 27-year-old teacher and an 18-year-old student were rescued as the student’s mother watched in tears. Eyup Erdem was a university student who was found using tiny cameras mounted on sticks. Rescuers broke into applause as he emerged from the debris. Amy couldn’t help but get emotional as she wrote.
“You okay, Amy?” Adam Princeton asked from his seat across from her. Their desks were set up in a circle so they could interact with each other throughout the day.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Amy wiped the tear from her eye. “Just writing about this student and teacher who got rescued in Turkey. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be stuck under debris for 48-hours.”
“I know,” Adam nodded with agreement. “I’m writing about Thailand. Residents are having to leave their homes and the Don Muang airport has already been forced to close.”
“How high is the water now, Adam?” Josh Canyon wanted to know.
“It’s reached 30 centimeters in some places and is overflowing onto sidewalks and some roads,” Adam answered. “It’s causing problems for small vehicles and it makes the traffic on the DVP look like a picnic compared to this place.”
Looking back at her screen, Amy focused on her article. At one of the buildings in Van, rescue workers who had been working non-stop for more than 48 hours switched off their generators and lights, convinced that no one was left alive. Seconds later, however, they received word that someone trapped below had made contact on a mobile phone. One of the rescue workers said that there were three three people trapped under there. When they lifted the concrete slab, he said that the phone must have attracted a signal. (Reuters) Lights were turned back on and his team returned to their job.
At one warehouse in Van, about 100 people looted Red Crescent trucks carrying food, carpets and clothes. A few officers were there, but they couldn’t do anything about it. In other areas, desperate survivors fought among themselves for tents distributed by relief workers.
Amy finished her article by talking about how victims claimed that poor construction and lax enforcement contributed to quake deaths. Nearly 500 people had died from the quake, and those left behind were claiming that because the buildings lacked steel support rods and sufficient concrete, builders of sacrificing safety for speed and economy.
One of the survivor’s quotes really made her shake her head. The quote had been in the Washington Post and she was going to be quoting them in her article, but she couldn’t wrap her head around what the person was saying. She was a Christian, and believed that God allowed natural disasters to happen, but she didn’t believe that he caused death or that natural disasters were a means of punishment for the sins of a country. As she chewed on this last quote, she wondered what others would think when they read it. She could only begin to imagine the kind of comments people would generate. A resident named Nezvat Altinkaynak asked, “Death comes from God. But what about poor construction?”