Rescue workers have been pulling apart the wreckage since the quake struck, desperately looking for survivors. Every so often the rescuers pause in their search. They switch off their engines, put down their pick axes and ask the surrounding crowds to be quiet.
Only when complete silence falls do they attempt to contact those still trapped in the buildings, shouting into the wreckage of their own homes. They then wait to hear the slightest of sounds. A faint cry, an incessant tapping, anything which might indicate someone is alive down there, underneath the mass of concrete and twisted metal.
We often talk about the complexities of pieces of music and the relationships they have to events, stressing their wider importance in the world we live in. Yet sometimes it is just a single sound that carries with it more emotion – happiness, elation and relief – than any music we will ever listen to.
The absence of it doesn’t even bear thinking about.
I was in South Turkey when the earthquake happened, exploring an underground city 500km away from the epicentre of the quake. To have been trapped down there would have been horrific, I can barely imagine what it must feel like to still lay trapped underneath the rubble in Van.
Our thoughts and well wishes go to anyone affected by the quake.
If you would like to help with the relief effort you can donate to the Red Cross/Crescent online.