February 13, 2023 Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria kill over 36,000

5:21 p.m. ET, Feb. 13, 2023

A notebook found in the earthquake debris in north-west Syria recalls joyful moments from the past

By CNN By Raja Razek and CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi A member of the White Helmets searches a notebook found in the rubble. (Syrian civil defense)

As hope dwindles for survivors of last week’s earthquake that devastated northwestern Syria, a notebook found in the rubble is a reminder of happier days.

On Monday, the humanitarian organization The White Helmets tweeted Images reminiscent of a time when the region was not ravaged by decades of civil war.

In one entry, the author recalls celebrating Eid at home with friends and family. These moments of joy are fleeting.

The author describes the joy of Eid as “if it would never end”.

The author writes about the longing for what they call long lost moments.

Eid is now no longer a day of laughter, but a day of tears and longing.

Rescuers hope to find the notebook’s author.

“Seeing the notebooks broke my heart,” said Muhammad, a White Helmets volunteer in Jindiris, according to the tweet. “My thoughts turned to my own children. I didn’t stop for a moment as I searched. Our hope was to find a child, wife or father and reunite them with their families.”

Compound Devastation: For the Syrians, the earthquake is just the latest in a decade-long series of tragedies.

CNN reported that most of the victims were in a region already struggling to rebuild vital infrastructure badly damaged by airstrikes during the country’s civil war, which the UN estimates has claimed at least 300,000 civilian lives since 2011 has. Half of northwestern Syria’s 4.6 million people have been displaced from their homes by the conflict, with 1.7 million living in tents and refugee camps in the region, according to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. Last year, the agency reported that 3.3 million Syrians in the region were food insecure.

“It’s a crisis within a crisis,” says Leena Zahra, a Syrian-American humanitarian focused on improving access to mental health for globally displaced people. “This tragedy will affect children and entire families, some of whom have been displaced more than 20 times. It will only add to the psychological effects they have already experienced.”