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Subhi in the shelter

‘Our house started to dance’

Subhi narrowly escaped in his wheelchair from the apartment complex in Aleppo, Syria where he lived before the earthquake on February 6th. A week later, he was working to prepare emergency aid kits for other victims at the shelter where he found refuge. Still wearing the same socks – two different ones.


‘There was such panic in the street’

Grinning broadly, Subhi pulls up his trouser legs. A week after the earthquake hit Aleppo, he talks to one of the ZOA team members in the shelter. “I have two different socks on,” says the 57-year-old Syrian. “I didn't have time to get them together when we suddenly had to leave our house.

The apartment in Aleppo where he lived before the earthquake with his two adult daughters, has been declared uninhabitable. “We were sleeping when our house started to dance,” he says. “My daughters ran up the street, trying to find someone to help me.”

Subhi is in a wheelchair and had difficulty getting out of the apartment building. “There was such a huge panic on the street. Everyone was screaming for help.”

And yet… help arrived. Subhi was rescued. “I was just able to grab my identity card,” he says. “Then we spent the rest of the day outside in the rain. No one dared to hide under anything. There were so many aftershocks.”

Subhi shows his socks

Subhi and his daughters soon found shelter in a Syrian Orthodox church, which has been set up as a shelter for about two hundred people. ZOA employees and a local organization provide mattresses, blankets and hot meals there.

Subhi also helps. In his wheelchair, he prepares emergency aid kits for fellow citizens who have also been affected by the earthquake. His daughters volunteer at another shelter. “That's how we keep ourselves busy,” he says.

Read more about ZOA's work in Syria

Subhi talking