The earthquake that killed 14 killed last week left an extraterrestrial citizen in Turkey with the top death toll in the country’s largest region
Turkey’s government said search and rescue teams have pulled more than 8,000 people from underneath the rubble of thousands of toppled buildings in the past two days. But worries grew that survivors may succumb to their injuries or hypothermia, due to worsening weather conditions in the region.
The death toll in Turkey has grown to 21,848, making it the country with the highest death toll in the region, along with government and rebel-held parts of Syria.
After seeing the destruction wreaked on by Monday’s earthquake, Turkey’s president flew to southern Kahramanmaras to take in the carnage for himself.
“I know my son is inside and I think he’s still alive. His brother dug with his hands to find him,” she told NPR. The body of a man was wrapped in a blanket for his mother to say goodbye, after rescuers recovered it as diggers broke apart the building.
The earthquake and aftershocks that struck Istanbul in the wake of Syria’s biggest natural disaster – and the consequences for reconstruction in Syria
Aid groups consider the first 72 hours after a natural disaster as crucial for rescuing survivors. In neighboring Syria, the government has blamed Western sanctions for hampering relief efforts, but the U.S. says sanctions do not include humanitarian assistance. There isn’t much infrastructure in northern Syria, and the only road from Turkey to that region has been damaged by the earthquake.
Dozens of countries have sent aid to Syria, and Iran has sent hundreds of millions of dollars to help the war-torn country.
Turkey’s emergency management agency, AFAD, reports it has set up more than 70,000 tents for emergency shelter to the more than 380,000 people who have been temporarily displaced by this disaster.
More than two days after the deadly earthquake and aftershocks rocked the city, rescue teams continued to search through the rubble, the tempo picking up as the day wore on.
Most of Turkey sits on the Anatolian plate between two major faults: the North Anatolian Fault and the East Anatolian Fault. The plate that carries Arabia, including Syria, is moving northwards and colliding with the southern rim of Eurasia which is squeezing Turkey out towards the west, according to David Rothery, a geography professor at the Open University. Turkey is moving to the west at a rate of 2 centimetres per year. Half of the fault is lit up by earthquakes.
The epicentre of the main earthquake was 26 kilometres east of the city of Nurdaği in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 17.9 kilometres. The magnitude-7.5 event occurred around 4 kilometres southeast of Ekinözü in the Kahramanmaraş province (see ‘Earthquakes and aftershocks’).
Deaths in earthquakes are often caused by falling bricks and masonry. According to the US Geological Survey, many people in Turkey who were affected by the earthquake live in structures that are extremely likely to be damaged by shaking, with unreinforced brick masonry and low-rise concrete frames.
More than 11 years of war have made building standards impossible to enforce in Syria. Buildings collapsed in both of Syria’s northwestern regions after the earthquake. Some war-damaged buildings in Syria have been rebuilt using low-quality materials. “They might have fallen down more readily than things that were built at somewhat greater expense. He insists that they have yet to find out.
Heavy machinery has been increasingly brought into areas where a day earlier cautious searchers relied on their hands to dig through the rubble. The risk posed to those trapped alive must be weighed against their chances of surviving many more hours in the bitter cold.
A young girl wrapped in a blanket was pulled out of the rubble of a building in Turkey. She’s one of the latest young victims of Monday’s massive quake.
Elsewhere, excavators dug out the body of man believed to be a Syrian refugee in his 40s, who seemed to be on a mattress, like many of those who died after the quake struck around 4 a.m.
In the building that collapsed, rescuers were working to reach at least one person and possibly two who were thought to be alive. A generator was put up to power a pneumatic hand-operated drill, and the man using it cleared the rubble with his bare hands.
The rescuers said there was still a lot of work to be done, but he appeared to have spotted signs of life beneath the wreck.
A man volunteering at the hospital told CNN on Wednesday that 350 bodies in the morgue had not been collected by relatives because they had died.
The state of emergency management in Kamramanmaras, Nicaragua: a president speaks directly to the government and the communities affected by the earthquakes
Flanked by officials, he visited an emergency relief area set up by the country’s disaster management agency, AFAD. Row after row of shining white tents could be seen in the sports stadium, destined to house some of the thousands of families who’ve lost their homes.
The government was going to rebuild the Kahramanmaras region in a year, and people would get assistance with emergency housing, according to a newscast from the relief center.
The president stated that citizens can’t stay on the streets. “Our state is using all its resources with AFAD and municipalities. We will continue to do that.
He acknowledged that the government had some problems in terms of natural gas supply and roads, but said the situation was under control. He said the government is planning to give a lot of money to families who are impacted.
Less obvious damage has been done to newer buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras, but many of them have been left unscathed by the earthquakes.
At the bottom of the city, many people could be heard crying and lamenting by the tumbled buildings where they or their relatives lived until disaster struck.
A handful clutched photographs of loved ones who are under the rubble, less in hope of their rescue than as an act of remembrance – holding out snaps of their children or wedding pictures and saying “they are gone.”
The Turbulent Dialogue of Syria During the Earthquake: “Allahu akbar,” an Arabic-language tribute to the King, King and Savior
Aid agencies warn of catastrophic consequences in northwest Syria because of a three month state of emergency declared in 10 Turkish provinces.
The scale of the disaster overwhelmed the authorities, but rescue efforts continue in both countries. The country’s disaster agency says that more than 5,700 buildings have collapsed.
The stock exchange of Istanbul closed when initial trading showed rapid declines. The Turkish economy was already reeling from out-of-control inflation.
The crowd chants “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for God is Great. Volunteers and civil defense groups — themselves earthquake survivors — pull a boy out from the rubble alive in rebel-held northwestern Syria.
The world knows of the rescues thanks to Karam Kellieh, a resident and photojournalist who lives in the opposition controlled territory. Some 4 million people have been displaced due to the Syrian civil war. Bombings and poverty devastated the area before the earthquake. Aid was often hampered by politics and the Syrian government.
“Humanitarian aid and international aid haven’t appeared 72 hours after the catastrophic earthquake,” he said, describing the little help that is trickling into the region as a haphazard grassroots effort by individual groups.
Poorly equipped civil defense groups are in charge of the rescue efforts. Everyone is waiting for international help to be able to process what has happened.
Local authorities say 11,000 families in the rebel-held part of Syria are now homeless after the quake. Up to 2,000 deaths have been reported and thousands more injured, according to the United Nations.
Rescue efforts continue as untold others remain trapped under the rubble. Stories of miraculous rescues, like that of a baby girl born under the rubble, are a bullhorn for what’s at stake.
“The situation remains grim in north-west Syria where only five percent of reported sites are being covered by search and rescue,” the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.
People are digging with their own hands in many places, but in northwestern Syria there is not much machinery or heavy equipment to remove the rubble. Power outages have resulted in fuel shortages in hospitals.
Why is the government so centralized in responding to a devastating earthquake? The case for a Narli family in northwest Gaziantep province
National funds meant for natural disasters like this one were instead spent on highway construction projects of associates of the leader of the coalition government, according to critics.
After a catastrophic earthquake in northwestern Turkey killed more than 18,000 people in 1999, authorities imposed an earthquake tax meant to corral billions of dollars’ worth of disaster prevention and relief.
Ozel says it’s not just a “near-total incompetence on preparedness on the part of the government” in responding to this week’s earthquake. “To make matters worse, if that were even possible,” he says, “the government is also making it almost impossible for other organizations, civil society, citizens themselves and mayors and municipalities to actually help.”
Erdogan’s centralization of Turkey’s government has meant a plethora of restrictions on how individual cities and aid organizations can operate in the country, hampering overall rescue efforts. (Turkey’s embassies, meanwhile, along with an array of nongovernmental organizations and cultural associations, are collecting donations internationally.)
With an election expected by June, Ozel says Erdogan has already been weakened by out-of-control inflation in Turkey. Ozel thinks that the government will be one of the victims of this earthquake.
An 18-year-old high school student, Emrihan Korkmaz, has been working on the aid effort for three days. The students of Turkey have been ordered to stay away from school to mourn the victims of the earthquake.
18 semitrucks have been loaded and will be sent to the earthquake zone. They’re filled with blankets, clothes, but there is a more urgent need for food,” he says, as he loads a box underneath a banner with the image of Erdogan hanging from the ceiling. It doesn’t matter if we can get it to them. People there need food.”
Dramatic rescues were being broadcast on Turkish television, including the rescue of the Narli family in central Kahramanmaras 133 hours after the 7.8-magnitude temblor struck Monday. First, the 12-year-old Nehir Narli was saved, and then her parents.
That followed the rescue earlier in the day of a family of five from a mound of debris in the hard-hit town of Nurdagi, in Gaziantep province, TV network HaberTurk reported. Rescuers cheered and chanted, “God is Great!” The father was lifted to safety as the last family member.
Hurriyet and the Indian Army’s mission to Iskenderun, a devastated city in northern Hatay province
“In some parts of our settlements close to the fault line, we can say that almost no stone was left standing,” he said earlier Saturday from Diyarbakir.
After a second person was saved from the rubble in the same hour, a young woman in her 20s was extricated from the rubble. Police have said that people shouldn’t cheer or clap in order to be safe with other rescue efforts nearby. She was covered in a blanket. Rescuers were hugging each other. Some shouted, “God is great!”
Just an hour earlier, a 3-year-old girl and her father were pulled from debris in the town of Islahiye, also in Gaziantep province, and soon after a 7-year-old girl was rescued in the province of Hatay.
The rescues brought a sense of joy after the earthquake that killed more than 25,000 and left millions homeless, as well as a powerful aftershock hours later that destroyed thousands of buildings.
Not everything ended so well. Rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl inside the debris of a collapsed building in Hatay province early Saturday and intubated her. But she died before the medical teams could amputate a limb and free her from the rubble, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
As aid continued to arrive, a 99-member group from the Indian Army’s medical assistance team began treating the injured in a temporary field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was demolished.
He said he was rescued from the collapsed apartment building within hours of the earthquake, even though he was in pain. But after receiving basic first aid, he was released without getting proper treatment for his injuries.
The Buried and Dead: A Miracle in Turkey’s Syria-Earthquake-Death-Toll-Survivors
″I buried (everyone that I lost), then I came here,” “My sibling, my aunt, my daughter, and the wife of the son’s wife, who was 8 months pregnant, are dead,” Canbulat said.
A large graveyard was under construction on the outskirts. Backhoes and bulldozers dug pits in the field on the northeastern edge of the city as trucks and ambulances loaded with black body bags arrived continuously. Soldiers directing traffic on the busy adjacent road warned motorists not to take photographs.
The first day of operation at the cemetery yielded around 800 corpses, according to a worker with the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs who did not want to give information to the media. He estimated that by midday on Saturday, as many as 2,000 had been buried.
It’s a miracle that people are out of the rubble. Most of the people that come out now are dead, and they come here,” he said.
Many people don’t have a place to sleep because of the cold in the large region. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many people in need.
The Earthquake in Aleppo, Nicaragua: President Assad and his wife visited the hospital, where the humanitarian aid had been requested by the World Health Organization
President Assad and his wife visited the victims of the earthquake at the hospital, which is in Latakia, a stronghold of support for the leader.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, arrived in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, bringing with him 35 tons of medical equipment, state news agency SANA reported. He said another plane carrying an additional 30 tons of medical equipment will arrive in the coming days.
Hancer is grieving more than his daughter. The earthquake struck after his family traveled across Turkey to his mother’s house.
“I didn’t have hope because there was a large girder on my daughter. Her waist up was free but below her waist under the rubble,” she was crushed, he said. During the earthquake, she died. She didn’t have a chance of survival.”
Buildings in the Era of the First Erdospheric Earthquake: a case study of Hancer’s home
“I also talked with AFAD [the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency in Turkey], and they helped as much as they could. But they said they could not provide an excavator to that area,” Hancer said.
“My mother, my two older brothers, my sister-in-law and her little daughter. There were seven people including my daughter. They were all under the rubble,” Hancer said.
Hancer’s home has also been badly damaged, he said, adding that he doesn’t have anywhere to stay. “We cannot enter our house because we don’t have the means. We are left outside.”
Turkish authorities have arrested a number of property developers accused of negligently building in the wake of last week’s earthquake.