Turkey quake rescue efforts wind down
January 27 2020 01:09 AM
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Turkey
People spend the night in a park in Elazig, eastern Turkey, near a huge fire.

Reuters/Elazig, Turkey

A woman and her young child were pulled out alive late on Saturday from under a collapsed building before Turkey began winding down its rescue operation yesterday, following an earthquake that killed at least 38 people.
The magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck in eastern Turkey on Friday evening, killing 34 people in Elazig province and four in the neighbouring province of Malatya.
More than 1,600 others were injured and 45 were rescued from under rubble on Saturday night, Turkey’s AFAD disaster authority said.
Those rescued included a 35-year-old woman and her infant daughter in the Mustafa Pasa district of Elazig.
Rescuers who heard their screams took several hours to reach them in temperatures as low as -4° Celsius (24.8° Fahrenheit), state media said
“Can you hear me?” television footage showed a rescuer calling to the mother. “We are coming. We will save you.”
“Please get me out, I cannot stand it anymore. Get my daughter, I am nothing without my kid,” she replied before being safely lifted out on a crane.
The woman’s husband was among those killed.
In a nearby neighbourhood, rescue workers stood on mountains of debris where the quake had split an apartment building in half.
They dug through using buckets, blowing whistles when they needed silence to listen for trapped people.
In all, 45 people were rescued from under rubble on Saturday night, Turkey’s AFAD disaster authority said.
Speaking later in Elazig, about 550km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the rescue operation was largely concluded.
The AFAD said rescuers were still working only at one site in Elazig, where Turkish broadcasters said three people were believed to be missing.
Soylu also said aftershocks were continuing, and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, speaking alongside Soylu, said 104 people were being treated in hospitals.
Thirteen were in intensive care but none was in a critical condition.
Other provinces sent thousands of emergency workers to support rescue efforts, which were also supplemented by hundreds of volunteers, officials said.
The AFAD said yesterday that it had sent more than 10,400 tents, 17,000 beds, 37,000 blankets, heaters and food supplies.
Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said the quake had damaged buildings in several provinces and 12 structures needed to be demolished immediately.
He later said that the government would begin a reconstruction process, and there were 1.5mn structures needing “immediate renewal”.
Interior Minister Soylu said those affected by the quake would start receiving financial support from today.
The AFAD said it had transferred 3mn lira ($506,688.29) in emergency aid to each of the municipalities in Elazig and Malatya.
It said 1,521 buildings had been damaged, including 645 heavily damaged and 76 collapsed structures.
Speaking on Saturday during a visit to Elazig and Malatya, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that steel-framed houses would be rapidly built for displaced residents.
Yesterday he said that new, permanent houses would also be provided soon.
“We do not have the luxury of being slow. We cannot be late and we will not allow any delays,” he said in Istanbul.
Turkey has a history of powerful earthquakes.
More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6-magnitude quake struck Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul.
In 2011, an earthquake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.



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