The death toll is rising; the search continues
The death toll topped 5,000 across Turkey and Syria on Tuesday as the frantic search for survivors of two powerful earthquakes and a series of violent aftershocks continued for a second day.
The tremors toppled more than 6,000 buildings. In Turkey alone, more than 24,000 rescuers, including some from around the world, were digging through massive piles of debris for signs of life.
“We are facing one of the greatest disasters not only in the history of the Turkish Republic but also of… the world,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Amid crushing tragedy, small victories have been won. In Kahramanmaras, rescuers removed concrete slabs from Onur Dobuoglu, 25, who had been stuck for 30 hours. Dobuoglu was taken by ambulance to hospital with a fractured foot and arm.
Turgut Dolanbay, a member of the rescue team, told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the team focused on the site after hearing Dobuoglu’s call. His uncle, Sefa Gedik, embraced rescuers after reuniting with his nephew.
“May Allah help everyone, and we want everyone to be saved,” Gedik said.
QUAKE DAMAGE:Photos capture the devastating aftermath of a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake
HOW YOU CAN HELP: These groups receive donations
►More than a dozen people have been investigated for allegedly “provocative” posts on earthquake social media which authorities say attempted to foment “fear and panic”, local media reported.
►Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said an Italian – businessman Angelo Zen, 50, from Venice – was missing in Turkey. Family members said they believe Zen traveled to the quake area.
►Some bastions of historic Gaziantep Castle were destroyed by the quake, officials said. The castle dates from the 2nd century.
►Christian Atsu, a former Chelsea and Newcastle striker in the British Premier League, has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment,” the Ghana Football Association tweeted. Atsu, 31, signed with a team Turkish last year.
►Turkish Airlines said it carried 80 flights with nearly 12,000 volunteers to the earthquake zone in southern Turkey on Tuesday. CEO Bilal Eksi said the flights would continue for as long as needed.
California is shaking like in Turkey
California and Turkey aren’t drastically different when it comes to earthquakes, except they’re expected to be more frequent in California, said Robert Muir-Wood, director of research at risk management firm Moody’s RMS. . Earthquakes in Turkey are large, mostly “strike-slip and across a broad plate boundary”, he said. Faults that move horizontally are called strike-slip faults.
Residential earthquake insurance penetration in Turkey is higher than in California, but building code compliance is much better in California, Muir-Wood said.
“Such earthquakes are expected to be at least twice as common in California,” he said.
Severely damaged electricity and natural gas infrastructure
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said the earthquakes had inflicted severe damage to electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution lines. State pipeline operator BOTAŞ and major electricity supplier Enerjisa said they were examining and repairing damage around the clock “in very difficult weather and terrain conditions”.
Some repair work has been completed, but some areas have not been supplied with electricity for security reasons, Engerjis said.
30 hours after the collapse, survivors extricated from the rubble
In Turkey’s southernmost province of Hatay, Daily Sabah reported that a 16-year-old girl had been rescued after being trapped under the rubble of a five-storey building for almost 22 hours . Five other survivors were found nearly 30 hours after the 7.7 magnitude quake hit the downtown district of Antakya. Rescue teams also dug up four other people from two separate wreckage nearby. A few hours later, teams pulled a mother and her two daughters alive from under a building.
Crews rescued a child and his big sister from another wreck, and rescuers said they were yelling at him “I’m scared, I can’t get out”, as workers rushed to free them.
In Syria, no end in sight to the suffering
In northwestern Syria, the quake flattened towns in an already besieged region. Millions of people have been displaced by a civil war that has lasted for more than a decade. The death toll from the earthquake in Syria has exceeded 1,450 and is expected to rise. Sanctions have made reconstruction difficult amid the fighting, and the task has become more difficult.
Khaled Hboubati, head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has called for the siege and economic sanctions imposed on Syria to be lifted.
“We need heavy equipment, ambulances and firefighting vehicles to continue to rescue and remove rubble, and that means lifting sanctions against Syria as soon as possible,” Hboubati said on Tuesday. “Our volunteers are ready, but we lack materials.”
Turkey declares state of emergency for 3 months
Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 southern provinces. Flags were lowered as the country observes seven days of national mourning. He said 13 million of the country’s 85 million people had been affected in one way or another by the disaster.
“Our greatest relief is that more than 8,000 of our citizens have been rescued from the rubble so far,” Erdogan said.
Children among the most vulnerable
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, said its immediate goal is to ensure that children and families have access to clean water and sanitation services, to bring children with their families, “psychological first aid” and to have access to schools, many of which are now used as temporary accommodation, reopened for education. Displaced families in northwestern Syria and Syrian refugee families living in Turkey in informal settlements are among the most vulnerable, UNICEF spokesman James Elder said.
“Communities are grappling with an ongoing cholera outbreak and heavy rains and snow,” Elder said. “In this context, and in the context of more than a decade of conflict, this earthquake is completely unbearable.”
Winter weather prevents the search for the living
Attempts to reach survivors were hampered by sub-zero temperatures and nearly 200 aftershocks, which made searching through unstable structures perilous.
Nurgul Atay told The Associated Press that she could hear her mother’s voice under the rubble of a collapsed building in the city of Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, but efforts to enter the ruins had been in vain without any rescue team or heavy equipment. help.
“If only we could lift the concrete slab, we could reach it,” Atay said. “My mother is 70 years old; she can’t stand it for long.
The massive relief operation often struggled to reach the devastated towns, and the voices crying out from the rubble died down.
“We could hear their voices, they were calling for help,” said Ali Silo, whose two relatives could not be saved in the Turkish town of Nurdag.
PREVIOUSLY:A frantic search for survivors after a massive earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria; More than 5,000 dead
Thousands of people are left homeless
In the Turkish province of Hatay, thousands of people took refuge in sports centers or fairgrounds, while others spent the night outside, huddled in blankets around fires. In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, a provincial capital about 20 miles from the epicenter, people have taken refuge in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centers.
On the Syrian side, the affected area is divided between government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Overcrowded medical centers were overflowing with injured people, emergency workers said. Some buildings remained standing but were no longer structurally sound and had to be emptied, including a maternity hospital, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.
“We received earthquake victims as they arrived, while simultaneously working to ensure the well-being of our more than 1,700 staff in Syria and the 90 at the epicenter near Syria. Gaziantep,” SAMS Chairman Dr Amjad said. Rass said.
Contribute: The Associated Press