Rare rescues offer hope amid rising earthquake death toll in Turkey, Syria | earthquake news

A family of six is ​​pulled out after 101 hours under rubble in Iskenderun, southern Turkey. A family was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building Friday morning, in the Hatay region, one of the worst-hit areas in Turkey. A 17-year-old man was rescued in Gaziantep, 94 hours after Monday’s first deadly earthquake.

Friday morning brought glimmers of hope across a devastated landscape straddling the Turkish-Syrian border, as volunteers and workers carried out seemingly miraculous rescues.

Rare successes have come even as Turkey passes a grim milestone: The earthquake death toll has passed 18,300, surpassing the death toll that the strong 1999 earthquake did. shaken and scarred this nation. In total, Monday’s 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes and hundreds of other strong aftershocks killed at least 21,500 people and turned entire residential areas into rubble in southeastern Turkey. Turkey and northwestern Syria.

The grim toll continues to rise as rescuers continue their frantic search operations fifth day in a row between freezing temperatures and damaged infrastructure.

Al Jazeera correspondent Resul Serdar said: “Rescuers are on the road with heavy machinery still hoping to reach some of them – alive or dead.” “But they’re getting desperate here and the tension is high,” he said.

It’s a lasting tragedy for the survivors — but they don’t know if their loved ones will. “My loved ones are burning under the rubble,” one Kahramanmaras resident told Al Jazeera, unable to hold back tears.

Turkey’s disaster management agency said more than 110,000 employees were participating in the rescue effort with the assistance of more than 5,500 vehicles, including tractors, cranes, bulldozers and excavators.

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However, criticism against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government for its lack of quick response to the tragedy is growing.

“Why can’t we learn anything? Why aren’t the authorities fully evaluating the structures? Why does the government allow such weak structures? Sinem Koseoglu of Al Jazeera said, citing people’s doubts.

Turkey lies on major fault lines and cities have been ravaged by deadly earthquakeincluding a massive 7.4 magnitude earthquake in the western city of Izmit in 1999 when more than 17,500 people were killed.

On Wednesday, Erdogan defended the government’s preparedness and response to earthquakes during a visit to the disaster zone, saying “anyone cannot prepare for the scale of the disaster”.

He went on to say that the state will rebuild all collapsed buildings in all 10 earthquake-affected provinces within a year.

Experts argue though that while the magnitude, location and rapid succession of earthquakes would pose a risk to any building, optional government reforms have left many buildings vulnerable.

Sinan Turkkan, civil engineer and president of Turkey’s Earthquake Retrofit Association, told Al Jazeera: “On paper, Turkey’s seismic design code is up to global standards – it really does. better than most other standards. “In reality, however, the situation is very different.”

Meanwhile, 14 aid trucks have entered northwestern Syria from Turkey, the United Nations said. A first UN convoy passed through the Bab al-Hawa crossing on Thursday.

In opposition-controlled areas of Syria, rescuers are working with bare hands and some equipment to dig through debris. The White Helmets, a voluntary organization in the rebel-held area, officially known as the Syrian Civil Defense Forces, criticized the United Nations for saying its shipment was not suitable for the carpet. disaster because it contained ordinary aid.

“We still have hundreds of families trapped under the rubble, including 16 of my cousins ​​and their wives and children,” a volunteer in Idlib told Al Jazeera. “We could see the bodies of loved ones under the rubble but we couldn’t do anything to collect them,” he added.

The situation in the area controlled by the Syrian government also makes it difficult for survivors.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Safir Salim of the Middle East Council of Churches said the situation is getting worse for the homeless in the Syrian city of Aleppo. He said that after the earthquake, many people had to leave their homes after being deemed unsafe.

“The situation is now starting to get worse than yesterday. Engineers came to inspect the buildings and found hundreds of buildings that could not be saved,” he said.

“So they asked people to quickly clear everything out of the building,” he said. “Now we are suffering for the future and what we will do now.”

You can find information on how to donate to earthquake relief efforts This.


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