Survivors are yet to be found as the earthquake death toll exceeds 25,000

Just an hour earlier, a three-year-old girl and her father were pulled from the rubble in the city of Islahiye, also in Gaziantep province, and shortly afterwards a seven-year-old girl was rescued in Hatay province.


The rescues brought gleams of joy amid overwhelming devastation days after Monday’s quake and a powerful aftershock hours later caused thousands of buildings to collapse, killing more than 25,000 people, injuring another 80,000 and leaving millions homeless.

Not everything ended so well. Rescue workers reached and intubated a 13-year-old girl in the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay province early Saturday. But she died before medical teams could amputate a limb and extricate her from the rubble. Hurriyet newspaper reports.

Although experts say trapped people can live a week or more, the chances of finding more survivors quickly diminished in freezing temperatures. Rescuers switched to thermal imaging cameras to identify life amid the rubble, a sign any remaining survivors may be too weak to call for help.

As aid continued to arrive, a 99-strong squad from the Indian Army’s medical relief team began treating the injured at a makeshift field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was being demolished.

Hanaa Sharif, 7, was the only survivor of her family to be killed when her home collapsed.

Hanaa Sharif, 7, was the only survivor of her family to be killed when her home collapsed. Credit:

One man, Sukru Canbulat, was taken to the hospital in a wheelchair with his left leg severely bruised, bruised and lacerated.

Wincing in pain, he said he was rescued from his collapsed home in the nearby city of Antakya within hours of Monday’s quake. But after receiving basic first aid, he was released without adequate treatment for his injuries.

“I buried everyone (everyone I lost), then I came here,” Canbulat said, counting his dead relatives: “My daughter died, my siblings died, my aunt and her daughter died, and they wife of her son.” who was eight and a half months pregnant.

A large temporary cemetery was built on the outskirts of Antakya on Saturday. Backhoes and bulldozers dug pits in the field on the northeastern edge of town, while trucks and ambulances loaded with black body bags kept arriving. Soldiers directing traffic on the busy adjacent street warned motorists not to take photos.

The hundreds of graves, spaced no more than three feet apart, were marked with simple wooden planks set vertically into the ground.

An employee of Turkey’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, who asked not to be named because of the order not to release information to the media, said around 800 bodies were taken to the cemetery on Friday, the first day of his work. As of Saturday noon, he said, as many as 2,000 had been buried.

“People coming out of the rubble now, it will be a miracle if they survive. Most of the people coming out now are dead and they come here,” he said.

Temperatures have remained below freezing in the large region, and many people are left without shelter. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many in need.

The disaster worsened suffering in a region ravaged by Syria’s 12-year civil war, which has displaced millions of people within the country and left them dependent on aid. The fighting sent millions more to Turkey to seek refuge.

Hong Kong rescue workers are searching for quake survivors in Antakya, Turkey, on Saturday.

Hong Kong rescue workers are searching for quake survivors in Antakya, Turkey, on Saturday.Credit:

The conflict has isolated many areas of Syria and hampered efforts to get aid. The United Nations said the first earthquake-related aid convoy traveled from Turkey to north-western Syria on Friday, the day after a planned aid shipment planned before the disaster hit.

The UN refugee agency estimates that up to 5.3 million people have become homeless in Syria.

President Bashar al-Assad and his wife have visited injured quake victims at a hospital in the coastal city of Latakia, a base in support of the Syrian leader.

Syrian state television said Assad and his wife Asma on Saturday morning visited Duha Nurallah, 60, and their son Ibrahim Zakariya, 22, who had been pulled from rubble the night before in the nearby coastal town of Jableh.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, arrived in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday, bringing 35 tons of medical equipment, state news agency SANA reported. He said another plane carrying an additional 30 tons of medical equipment will arrive in the coming days.

The opposition Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, said on Saturday it was “almost impossible to find people alive”.

AP Survivors are yet to be found as the earthquake death toll exceeds 25,000

Callan Tansill

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