Eleven days after the earthquake, two more people were rescued in Turkey

By Suhaib Salem and Ali Kucukgocmen

KAHRAMANMARAS, Turkey (Reuters) – Two more people were pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey on Friday, 11 days after an earthquake that killed more than 43,000 people in the country and Syria, as aid organizations step up efforts, killing millions of people Helping people who have left the country homeless.

Osman Halebiye, 14, was rescued overnight in the city of Antakya in southeastern Turkey, 260 hours after the massive earthquake that struck in the middle of the night on February 6, state-run Anadolu News Agency said. He is being treated in the hospital.

Mustafa Avci, 34, was also found alive 261 hours after the Antakya earthquake. As he was being taken away on a stretcher, he was invited to a video call with his parents, who showed him his newborn baby.

“I had lost all hope. This is a real miracle. They gave me my son back. I saw the rubble and thought no one could be saved alive from there. We were prepared for the worst,” his father Ali Avci said.

But such rescues are becoming increasingly rare after Turkey’s deadliest earthquake in modern history – a magnitude 7.8 quake followed an hour later by a similarly powerful quake. The death toll in Turkey now stands at 38,044, officials said.

In neighboring Syria, already wracked by more than a decade of civil war, authorities have reported more than 5,800 deaths. The toll has not changed for days.

The bulk of Syria’s deaths occurred in the northwest, an area controlled by insurgents at war with President Bashar al-Assad — a conflict hampering efforts to help those affected by the earthquake.

The sides clashed for the first time since the overnight disaster, when government forces shelled the outskirts of Atareb, a rebel-held town badly hit by the earthquake, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Friday.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

Neither Turkey nor Syria have given any information on how many people are still missing after the quake.

For families still waiting to find relatives in Turkey, there is growing anger at what they see as corrupt building practices and a deeply flawed urban development that has left thousands of homes and businesses crumbling.

Turkey has promised to investigate anyone suspected of causing the buildings to collapse and has ordered the detention of more than 100 suspects, including developers.


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

People have slept in tents, mosques, schools or cars in the extensive disaster area and endured freezing winter temperatures.

The World Health Organization has expressed particular concern for the well-being of people in the North West, where most of the deaths in Syria have been reported.

An estimated 50,000 households in the Northwest need tents or emergency shelters, according to a survey by NGOs. Many people in the region felt abandoned as aid flowed to other parts of the disaster area.

Deliveries from Turkey to the rebel-held region were halted entirely immediately after the earthquake, when a route used by the United Nations was temporarily blocked.

Earlier this week, Assad approved the use of two more crossings to the northwest.

As of Friday, 142 trucks carrying UN aid had traveled to the Northwest since aid operations resumed on Feb. 9, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters.

“We are definitely expanding the cross-border relief operation, it is planned that more trucks will come every day,” said the spokesman.

Assad said Thursday in his first TV commentary since the earthquake that responding to the disaster required more resources than the government had at its disposal.

(Reporting by Suhaib Salem and Ali Kucukgocmen; Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay, Tom Perry, Abir Al Ahmar, Jonathan Spicer and Michelle Nichols; Writing by Tom Perry, Crispian Balmer, Rosalba O’Brien and Stephen Coates; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Robert Birsel and Christina Fincher)


Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button