5 days in, more quake survivors emerge from rubbles in Turkey and Syria - GulfToday

5 days in, more quake survivors emerge from rubbles in Turkey and Syria


From L to R: Tanem, 8, rests after being saved in Hatay; a 4-month-old girl rescued in Antakya and rescuers carry Aisha, a 5-year-old Syrian girl, who survived a deadly earthquake in Kahramanmaras on Saturday. AFP / Reuters

Rescue teams in Turkey on Saturday pulled to safety a family of five who survived inside their collapsed home for five days following a major earthquake in a sprawling border region of Turkey and Syria. The death toll, however, was approaching 25,000.

They first extricated mother and daughter Havva and Fatmagul Aslan from among a mound of debris in the hard-hit town of Nurdag, in Gaziantep province, HaberTurk reported. The teams later reached the father, Hasan Aslan, but he insisted that his other daughter, Zeynep, and son Saltik Bugra be saved first.
Then, as the father was brought out, rescuers cheered and chanted "God is Great!”


The dramatic rescue after 129 hours brings to nine the number of people rescued on Saturday, despite diminishing hopes amid freezing temperatures. They included a disoriented 16-year-old and a 70-year-old woman.

"What day is it?” Kamil Can Agas, the teenager who was pulled out of the rubble in Kahramanmaras, asked his rescuers, according to NTV television.
Members of the mixed Turkish and Kyrgyz search teams embraced each other, as did the teenager’s cousins, with one of them calling out: "He is out, brother. He is out. He is here.”


The rescues brought shimmers of joy amid overwhelming devastation days after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake collapsed thousands of buildings, killing more than 24,000 people, injuring another 80,000 and leaving millions homeless. Another quake nearly equal in power and likely triggered by the first caused more destruction hours later.

Rescue workers in the Turkish city of Antakya carried Ergin Guzeloglan, 36, to an ambulance after they pulled him out from a collapsed building on Saturday.

Not everything ended so well, however. Rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl inside the debris of a collapsed building in Hatay province early on Saturday and intubated her. But she died before the medical teams could amputate a limb and free her from the rubble, Hurriyet newspaper reported.


Even though experts say trapped people can live for a week or more, the odds of finding more survivors were quickly waning. Rescuers were shifting to thermal cameras to help identify life amid the rubble, a sign of the weakness of any remaining survivors.


As aid continued to arrive, a 99-member group from the Indian Army’s medical assistance team began treating the injured in a temporary field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was demolished.

One man, Sukru Canbulat, was wheeled into the hospital in a wheelchair, his left leg badly injured with deep bruising, contusions and lacerations.

Wincing in pain, he said he had been rescued from his collapsed apartment building in the nearby city of Antakya within hours of the quake on Monday. But after receiving basic first aid, he was released without getting proper treatment for his injuries.


Hospitals in Antakya, he said, were overburdened, and he had come to the Indian field hospital in Iskenderun to finally address his injuries.

″I buried (everyone that I lost), then I came here,’’ Canbulat said, counting his dead relatives: "My daughter is dead, my sibling died, my aunt and her daughter died, and the wife of her son" who was 8½ months pregnant.

Temperatures remained below freezing across the large region, and many people have no shelter. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many people in need.

Associated Press

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