“Our employees in the country have been committed to the people affected by this tragedy”

Cihan Akkuş and Fatih Memiş

Health and Safety Manager and Deputy Project Director (Construction) of the Marmaray railway project in Turkey.

Cihan Akkuş, Health and Safety Manager, and Fatih Memiş, Deputy Director of the Marmaray Railway Project in Turkey, tell us about their personal involvement and that of the entire OHLA team in the country to help rescue teams following the powerful earthquake on February 6. Among other actions, the company has donated lighting generators, hilti, spiral machines and other tools and is responsible for their start-up and maintenance.

What was OHLA’s plan to donate equipment and tools to support the rescue efforts in Turkey? How has the local OHLA team been involved?

Since the earthquake, we have been in constant contact with both local governments and search and rescue teams. We informed them of all the materials we had at their disposal and made sure that they were sent to the earthquake zone in order of priority. In addition, our employees in the country have been committed to the people affected by this tragedy by participating in in-kind and aid campaigns.

How did you organize the donation of the material?

After informing our in-country team about the earthquake, we took an inventory of the materials we had in the warehouse. Most urgently needed to assist in the search and rescue efforts was the dispatch of lighting generators, hilti and spiral machines to the affected localities, Hatay and Nurdağı.

What measures were taken?

We knew that there was no light in the region and that this would cause great difficulties in the rescue work. Therefore, we signed a protocol with the generator company to repair the machines that required it and we took first-hand responsibility to ensure that, in less than 48 hours, all equipment was ready and had been received in the earthquake zone (Gaziantep Nurdağı). Commissioning work has been carried out continuously since the day of the earthquake.

"We personally arranged for the material to reach the earthquake zone in less than 48 hours"

What were the next steps?

After sending the material for the search and rescue tasks, our team was involved at night and on weekends in the tasks of organizing and transporting other materials that we had in our warehouse and that were also useful, such as portable toilets, tables, chairs and caissons. At all times we were in coordination with the Turkish Armed Forces and rescue teams.

Is there a specific action or moment you would like to highlight?

One of the most emotional moments was when the search and rescue teams called us to thank us and tell us that thanks to the material we sent them, they were able to save four people that night, especially in the town of Hatay. It was also very exciting to see the arrival of the Spanish Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team in Turkey to help our country. It takes a lot of solidarity and help to overcome this tragedy.

How is the entire OHLA team in the country?

The railway project we are developing in the country, Marmaray, is located approximately 1,000 km from the disaster area. Fortunately, no employees were affected by the earthquake and all of our teammates and their families are healthy.

What would you highlight about your colleagues?

We are really grateful to the Management of OHLA in Turkey, who from the first day of the earthquake allowed us to use all our resources to help the earthquake victims. 

Any message you would like to share…

We must continue to help, as we have done from the very beginning, all the citizens of the country and the search and rescue teams, who are going through very difficult times. Millions of people are still living in tents in very difficult conditions. As Turkish citizens as a whole, we would like to thank all the states and global companies that are helping us at this time.

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