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WORLD NEWS | Rescue in Turkiye provides moment of relief after earthquake

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The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

Iskenderun (Turkey), Feb. 10 (AP) — Rescuers pulled several people Friday from the wreckage of shattered buildings, some in freezing temperatures after a catastrophic earthquake hit Turkey and Syria. More than 22,000 people survived being trapped under crushed concrete for more than 100 hours.

Survivors included six relatives huddled in a small pocket under the rubble, a teenager who quenched his thirst by drinking his own urine and a 4-year-old boy who was given a jelly bean to calm him when he was shaken.

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But a flurry of dramatic rescue operations – some of which were broadcast live on Turkish television – could not conceal the overwhelming devastation of what the Turkish president has described as one of the greatest disasters in the country’s history.

Entire high-rise neighborhoods have been reduced to twisted metal, powdered concrete and exposed wires, the 7.8-magnitude quake has killed more people than the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and there are undoubtedly many more bodies to be recovered and counted.

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Four days after the quake decimated a vast border region home to more than 13.5 million people, rescuers plucked 17-year-old Adnan Muhammed Korkut from Gaziantep, Turkey, near the quake’s epicentre. ) relatives wept and chanted slogans. He was trapped there for up to 94 hours and was forced to drink his own urine to survive.

“Thank God you’re here,” he said, hugging his mother and others who leaned over him with kisses and hugs as he was loaded into the ambulance.

For one of the rescuers, identified only as Yasemin, Adnan’s survival was devastated.

“I have a son like you,” she told him after giving him a warm hug. “I swear to you, I haven’t slept in four days. …I’m trying to get you out.

Meanwhile, in Adiyaman, rescuers pulled 4-year-old Yagiz Komsu from the rubble of his home 105 hours after the quake struck. They later managed to rescue his mother, Ayfer Komsu, who survived with broken ribs, according to HaberTurk TV, which broadcast the rescue live. The crowd was asked not to cheer or clap so as not to scare the child, who was given a jelly bean, according to the TV station.

Elsewhere, HaberTurk TV said rescuers had identified nine people trapped in the rubble of a high-rise apartment building in Iskenderun and rescued six of them, including one who waved to bystanders as he was carried away on a stretcher women. “God is great!” the crowd chanted after she was brought out.

Just 600 feet (200 meters) from the Mediterranean Sea, the building narrowly escaped flooding when a major earthquake sent floodwaters into the city center.

And there are more stories: A married couple was rescued from the rubble after being buried in a small crevice in Iskenderun for 109 hours. A German team said it took more than 50 hours to free a woman from the rubble of a house in Kirikhan.

In Kahramanmaras, the worst-hit city, two teenage sisters were rescued after surgery video showed an emergency worker playing a pop song on his smartphone to distract them.

Work continues: In a video broadcast by HaberTurk TV, a trapped woman can be heard talking to the team trying to dig her out. She told would-be rescuers she had given up hope of being found – and prayed she would be put to sleep because she was so cold. The site did not say where the surgery will take place.

Although experts say those trapped can live for a week or more, the chances of finding survivors are dwindling.

The rescue operation on Friday offered brief moments of joy and relief as morgues and cemeteries were overwhelmed by pain and hardship gripping shattered regions, with bodies wrapped in blankets, rugs and tarps on some city streets.

In Kahramanmaras, a gymnasium served as a makeshift morgue to house and identify bodies.

Temperatures remained below freezing in large swathes of the country, leaving many people with nowhere to hide. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still trying to help many people in need.

Some in Turkey have complained of a slow government response, a perception that could hurt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he faces a tough re-election campaign in May.

The devastation added to the misery in a region plagued by Syria’s 12-year civil war, which has displaced millions across the country and left them dependent on aid, with millions more seeking refuge in Turkey.

The ongoing conflict has isolated many parts of Syria and complicated efforts to secure aid. The first earthquake-related aid convoy entered northwestern Syria from Yeh, Turkey, on Friday – a day after pre-planned arrivals, the United Nations said.

The truck managed to navigate a route that had been blocked by debris for days.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made his first public appearance in the quake-hit area of ​​the country since the disaster. Syrian state media said Assad and his wife Asma visited survivors at Aleppo University Hospital. He then visited rescuers in one of the hardest-hit areas of the city.

Aleppo, scarred by years of heavy bombing and shelling — much of it by forces from Assad and his ally Russia — was one of the cities hardest hit by the Feb. 6 earthquake.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO emergencies chief Dr Michael Ryan are expected to arrive in the city later on Friday to help support the delivery of aid.

Also on Friday, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a separatist insurgency in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, including some affected areas, announced a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, clashes in Syria between Turkiye and Kurdish forces, linked to the PKK, have complicated aid delivery to the region. On Thursday, Kurdish officials in Syria said Turkey-backed Syrian rebels had blocked an aid convoy heading for earthquake victims.

More than 18,900 people have been confirmed killed in the disaster in Turkiye so far, with around 75,000 injured, Turkiye’s disaster management agency said.

More than 3,300 people have been confirmed dead across the Syrian border, bringing the total to more than 21,600.

Some 12,000 buildings in Turkey have collapsed or suffered serious damage, according to Murat Kurum, Turkey’s Minister of Environment and Urban Planning.

Engineers say the scale of the damage is due in part to weak enforcement of building codes that some have warned for years would leave them vulnerable to earthquakes.

Mustafa Turan counted 248 collapsed buildings between the airport and downtown Adiyaman after rushing home from Istanbul following the quake.

The journalist said Friday that 15 of his relatives had been killed, many sleeping outside or in tents.

“At about 4am at night, it was so cold that our drinking water froze,” he said. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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