Two women survive for days in earthquake rubble - GulfToday

Two women survive for days in earthquake rubble


Rescuers carry 27-year-old survivor Rabia Ofkeli in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Hatay, Turkey, on Friday. Reuters

Rescuers in Turkey pulled two women alive from the rubble of collapsed buildings after they were been trapped for 122 hours following the region's deadliest quake in two decades, authorities said on Saturday.

The death toll exceeded 24,150 across southern Turkey and northwest Syria a day after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said authorities should have reacted faster to Monday's huge earthquake.

One of the rescued women, Menekse Tabak, 70, was swaddled in a blanket while rescuers carried her to a waiting ambulance in the province of Kahramanmaras, images from state news agency Anadolu showed.


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The other was an injured 55-year-old, identified as Masallah Cicek, who was extricated from the debris of a collapsed building in Diyarbakir, the largest city in southeast Turkey, the agency said.

Sixty-seven people had been clawed from the rubble in the previous 24 hours, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told reporters overnight, in efforts that drew in 31,000 rescuers across the affected region.

About 80,000 people were being treated in hospital, while 1.05 million left homeless by the quakes huddled in temporary shelters, he added.

"Our main goal is to ensure that they return to a normal life by delivering permanent housing to them within one year, and that they heal their pain as soon as possible," Oktay said.

With many left short of food in bleak winter conditions, questions are mounting for leaders of both countries over their response.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made his first reported trip to affected areas since the quake, visiting a hospital in Aleppo with his wife Asma, state media said.

His government approved deliveries of humanitarian aid across the front lines of the country's 12-year civil war, a move that could speed help for millions of desperate people.

Earlier, the World Food Programme said it was running out of stocks in rebel-held northwest Syria as the state of war complicated relief efforts.

Monday's 7.8-magnitude quake, with several powerful aftershocks across Turkey and Syria, ranks as the seventh-deadliest natural disaster this century, exceeding Japan's 2011 tremor and tsunami, and approaching the 31,000 killed by a quake in neighbouring Iran in 2003.




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