More than 45,000 people have been killed in the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, and the toll is expected to soar with some 264,000 apartments in Turkey destroyed and many still missing as rescue workers listen for signs of life under rubble.

Twelve days after the quake hit, workers from Kyrgyzstan tried to save a Syrian family of five from the rubble of a building in Antakya city in southern Turkey.

Three people, including a child, were rescued alive. The mother and father survived but the child died later of dehydration, the rescue team said. One older sister and a twin did not make it.

“We heard shouts when we were digging today an hour ago. When we find people who are alive we are always happy,” Atay Osmanov, a member of the rescue team, told Reuters.

A woman, left, stands near her son in a neighbourhood heavily damaged by an earthquake.
Taha Erdem, 17, right, his mother Zeliha Erdem, left, and father Ali Erdem are seen on Friday standing next to debris from a building where Tahan was trapped in Adiyaman, Turkey. (Mehmet Mucahit Ceylan/The Associated Press)

Ten ambulances waited on a nearby street that was blocked to traffic to allow for the rescue work.

Workers asked for complete silence and for everybody to crouch or sit as the teams climbed further up to the top of the rubble of the building where the family was found to listen for any more sounds using an electronic detector.

WATCH | Teenager miraculously rescued 10 days after quake

Teenager miraculously rescued 10 days after quake

Ten days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the region, a 17-year-old girl was safely recovered from the rubble in Turkey’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province. The quake has claimed the lives of more than 42,000 people in the country and neighbouring Syria.

As rescue efforts continued one worker yelled into the rubble: “Take a deep breath if you can hear my voice.”

Workers later stopped the search operations as excavators arrived and climbed up the rubble to begin clearing it.

The death toll in Turkey stands at 39,672 from the quake, the country’s worst modern disaster, while neighbouring Syria has reported more than 5,800 deaths. Syria’s toll has not changed for days.

While many international rescue teams have left the vast quake zone, domestic teams continued to search through flattened buildings on Saturday hoping to find more survivors who defied the odds. Experts say most rescues occur in the 24 hours following an earthquake.

Hakan Yasinoglu, in his 40s, was rescued in the southern province of Hatay, 278 hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the dead of night on Feb. 6, the Istanbul Fire Brigade said.

A couple and their baby are in a hospital room.
Mustafa Avci, 33, who was stuck under earthquake rubble for 261 hours, meets his daughter Almile for the first time and reunites with his wife Bilge, at a hospital in Mersin, Turkey, on Friday. Almile was born on the day of the earthquake. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

Earlier, Osman Halebiye, 14, and Mustafa Avci, 34, were saved in Turkey’s historic city of Antakya, known in ancient times as Antioch. As Avci was carried away, he was put on a video call with his parents, who showed him his newborn baby.

“I had completely lost all hope. This is a true miracle. They gave me my son back. I saw the wreckage and I thought nobody could be saved alive from there,” his father said.

Aid organizations say the survivors will need help for months to come with so much crucial infrastructure destroyed.

Body of soccer player found

Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu has been found dead under the collapsed building where he lived, in Hatay, his Turkish agent said on Saturday.

Atsu, 31, had been missing since the quake struck.

His manager said Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the earthquake hit, but he opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a Feb. 5 Super Lig match.

Atsu joined Hatayspor in September last year after spells with English Premier League clubs Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle United.

In neighbouring Syria, already shattered by more than a decade of civil war, the bulk of fatalities have been in the northwest, an area controlled by insurgents who are at war with President Bashar al-Assad — a conflict that has complicated efforts to aid people affected by the earthquake.

Thousands of Syrians who had sought refuge in Turkey from their country’s civil war have returned to their homes in the war zone — at least for now.

Anger over shoddy construction

Neither Turkey nor Syria have said how many people are still missing following the quake.

For families still waiting to retrieve relatives in Turkey, there is growing anger over what they see as corrupt building practices and deeply flawed urban development that resulted in thousands of homes and businesses disintegrating.

LISTEN | Anger is growing over alleged construction corruption in earthquake-stricken Turkey:

The Current21:25Anger is growing over alleged construction corruption in earthquake-stricken Turkey

Anger is growing over why so many buildings collapsed when earthquakes struck parts of Syria and Turkey last week. We look into alleged construction corruption with David Alexander, a professor of emergency planning and management at University College London; and Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, a former journalist and now a fellow at the U.S.-based think tank, Brookings Institution.

One such building was the Ronesans Rezidans (Renaissance Residence), which keeled over in Antakya, killing hundreds.

“It was said to be earthquake-safe, but you can see the result,” said Hamza Alpaslan, 47, whose brother had lived in the apartment block. “It’s in horrible condition. There is neither cement nor proper iron in it. It’s a real hell.”

A car in the middle of earthquake rubble.
A cat stands on a destroyed street in the aftermath of the earthquake in Antakya, Turkey, on Friday. (Nir Elias/Reuters)

Turkey has promised to investigate anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings and has ordered the detention of more than 100 suspects, including developers.

The United Nations on Thursday appealed for more than $1 billion US in funds for the Turkish relief operation, and has launched a $400-million appeal for Syrians.


Source link