Afghans stampede to airport after fake Turkey rumour circulates

Afghans stampede to airport after fake Turkey rumour circulates
Turkey, Syria earthquakes: Cemeteries run out of space in Turkey's Osmaniye

Hundreds of desperate Afghans rushed to Kabul airport after unfounded rumours led them to believe aid flights were leaving for Turkey to help rescue earthquake victims.

Footage across social media captured crowds braved the cold temperatures in the hopes of escaping Afghanistan.

"Crowds of people converged on Kabul Airport evening after hearing rumours that the Turkish embassy was planning to fly out Afghan citizens to help with relief work following the deadly earthquakes in Turkey," local journalist Saeedullah Safi said.

Kabul resident Abdul Ghafar, who rushed to the airport on Wednesday (8 February), said, "I heard that Turkey is taking out people, so I thought I can go and help people in need."

He added: "Also this can be an opportunity for me to find a way out of the country."

Reports suggest Ghafar waited three hours at the airport before finding out from Taliban forces there was no such thing.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesperson for the Kabul police chief in the Taliban government, said the situation should return to normal by Thursday (9 February). He urged citizens to not disrupt public order with "baseless lies."

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It comes after a devastating 7.8-magnitude quake hit the Turkish city of Gaziantep in the early hours of Monday (6 February), reducing thousands of homes and buildings across the south of the country and northern Syria to rubble as people slept.

A series of aftershocks left tens of thousands injured and survivors are feared trapped under thousands of collapsed buildings.

It is said that around 16,000 people have been killed from the tragedy.

To find out how you can help the victims of the Turkey and Syria earthquake, click here.

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