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Rescue operations dwindle in post-earthquake Turkey as aid flows into Syria

Rescue operations dwindle in post-earthquake Turkey as aid flows into Syria


Two people were reported to have been rescued, Thursday, and the death toll in Turkey and Syria has exceeded 42,000, and the authorities have not yet announced the numbers of missing people. Launches a $1 billion appeal to Turkey

KARAMANMRAS/ANTYAKH, Turkey (Reuters) – Two people were reported to have pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey on Thursday, more than ten days after a massive earthquake struck the region, but such rescues are becoming increasingly rare, leaving the region. Anger mounts as hope dies.

Broadcasting station TRT Haber reported that a 17-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed apartment complex in southeastern Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, 248 hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the dead of night on February 6.

Video footage showed her being carried away on a stretcher covered in a gold-colored thermal blanket while an emergency worker held an intravenous drip.

After about 10 hours, Neslihan Kilic was rescued.

“We prepared her grave and told the rescue workers to stop digging because we were afraid they might damage the bodies left under the rubble. Moments later, her voice was heard from under the rubble of the building,” Kilic’s son-in-law told CNN Turk.

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Kilic’s husband and two children are still missing.

The quake killed at least 36,187 people in southern Turkey, while authorities in neighboring Syria reported 5,800 dead – a figure that hasn’t changed much in days.

International aid agencies are stepping up efforts to help the millions made homeless, many of whom sleep in tents, mosques, schools or in cars.

The United Nations on Thursday appealed for more than $1 billion for Turkey’s relief operation, just two days after launching a $400 million appeal for Syrians.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in his first televised remarks since the earthquake, said that responding to the disaster required more resources than the government was providing.

Neither Turkey nor Syria said how many people were still missing.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, who visited Turkey last week, said people had “suffered indescribable grief”, adding: “We must stand with them in their darkest hour and ensure they receive the support they need.”

For families still awaiting the return of missing relatives, there is growing anger over what they see as corrupt building practices and deeply flawed urban development that has resulted in the disintegration of thousands of homes and businesses.

“I have two children. I don’t have two other children. They are both under these rubble,” said Sevil Karabadloglu, as excavators demolished what was left of a luxury apartment block in the southern Turkish city of Antakya, where her two daughters lived.

[1/7] A man searches through rubble for the remains of his belongings after his apartment was destroyed following a deadly earthquake in Adiyaman, Turkey on February 16, 2023. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

It is believed that around 650 people died when the Renaissance Residence building collapsed.

She said, “We rented this place as a place for the elite, a safe place. How do I know the contractor built it that way? … Everyone is looking to make a profit. They are all guilty.”

About 200 kilometers (125 miles) away, about 100 people gathered in a small cemetery in the town of Pazardzhik to bury a family of four – Ismail and Celine Yavuzatmaka and their two daughters – who all died in the Renaissance building.

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

aid transfers

Across the border in Syria, an earthquake has struck a region divided and ravaged by 12 years of civil war.

The Syrian government says the death toll in territory it controls is 1,414. More than 4,000 deaths have been reported in the rebel-held northwest, but rescuers say no one has been found alive there since February 9.

Relief efforts have been hampered by conflict and many people in the northwest feel abandoned as supplies are almost always destined for other parts of the sprawling disaster zone.

Deliveries from Turkey stopped completely in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, when a route used by the United Nations was temporarily blocked. Earlier this week, Assad agreed to open two more crossings.

As of Thursday, 119 UN trucks have passed through the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam crossings since the earthquake, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters.

In southeastern Turkey, heavy machinery has been trying to clear piles of debris clogging many towns and cities.

US bank JPMorgan estimated that the direct cost of destroying physical structures in Turkey could reach 2.5% of GDP growth, or $25 billion.

Many survivors fled the disaster areas, but some decided to stay despite the horrific conditions.

“We spend our days with bread, soup and meals as part of the aid that people send. We don’t have life anymore. We are afraid,” said Mustafa Akan from Adiyaman, who sleeps in the open and keeps himself warm by burning wood. in a bucket.

Additional reporting by Henriette Chakar, Ezgi Erkoyon, Taymur Azhari, Firas Makdisi, Khalil Ashawi, Hamouda Hassan, Abeer Al-Ahmar, Jonathan Spicer and Michelle Nichols; Written by Tom Perry, Crispian Palmer, and Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Christina Fincher, Edmund Blair and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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