Christian Atsu, a winger for Turkish soccer club Hatayspor, has been found alive after being buried under rubble in an earthquake that hit Turkey. He was reported missing on Monday after a 7.8 magnitude quake rocked the region at around 4:17 am local time. At last count, Forbes reports more than 11,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria and the damage is ongoing.
The Ghana Football Association tweeted news of Atsu’s rescue.
Update: We've received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment.
Let’s continue to pray for Christian🙏🏽
— Ghana Football Association (@ghanafaofficial) February 7, 2023
“Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble,” club vice president Mustafa Ozat told Radyo Gol.
Atsu is said to be receiving treatment but no further details about his injuries were provided.
He played in the Premier League for Chelsea, Everton, and New Castle from 2013-2021.
The Ghanaian winger last played for his country in 2019. At the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Atsu scored twice in a 3–0 win over Guinea in the quarter-finals, and led the team to the final, where they lost in a penalty shootout against the Ivory Coast. He was named the Player of the Tournament, and was awarded the Goal of the Tournament for his strike against Guinea.
Last September he signed with Hatayspor. Atsu scored the deciding goal in the team’s game last Sunday hours before the earthquake.
Ghanaian 🇬🇭 player Christian Atsu scored last minute goal for his club to win yesterday, and less than 24hrs he can’t be found as reported.
Pray for Christian Atsu pic.twitter.com/g03BmXcNFG
— Africa News 360 (@africanewz360) February 6, 2023
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake was followed by a 7.5 magnitude aftershock in the afternoon. The region is reeling and the Turkish government has declared a three-month state of emergency.
“The scale of the earthquake of course makes us take certain extraordinary measures,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday in a televised address. “We will be completing all the necessary procedures and formalities very fast.”
Controversial former NBA player Enes Freedom (Kanter) born to Turkish parents and a former Turkish national, has a complicated history with the country and Erdogan. He tweeted that he had to check in with his brother to see if his parents, who still live in Turkey, are OK after the earthquake.
It’s heartbreaking that because of @RTErdogan, I had to call my brother who lives outside of #Turkey to ask him if my family is doing okay & if they were affected from the #Earthquake.
Thank you for your prayers & thoughts!
Let’s keep praying for those who have been affected.
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) February 7, 2023
Kanter became outspoken of Erdoğan over human rights violations in 2013. Since then he’s been branded an enemy of the state in Turkey. It was reported that Erdoğan placed a $500,000 bounty on Kanter and his name was added to Turkey’s “Most Wanted” terrorist list.
During the last few years since becoming a U.S. citizen Kanter has also become a favorite on conservative media platforms for criticizing Black athletes, namely Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
The road to recovery in Turkey and Syria will be hellish. Tremors and aftershocks have continued with southern Turkey reporting 285 aftershocks since. A Turkish official said they’re coming very frequently.
“Every minute new tremors are happening,” said Orhan Tatar from the country’s disaster management agency.
Cold weather and snowstorms have severely impacted the relief efforts in the region. The World Health Organization has sent aid in the form of medical supplies loaded onto three charter flights.
“It’s now a race against time. Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminishes,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization.
We are all shocked by the images and reports coming from #Türkiye and #Syria. Over 4,000 people have been killed and over 18,700 are injured, but these numbers will continue to rise as the situation evolves. My full update on how @WHO is supporting: https://t.co/WgpXz956Wn pic.twitter.com/LOh2ajnSMy
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) February 7, 2023
The earthquake could cause up to 10,000 fatalities and damages of $1 billion in economic losses, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.