One family mourns the losses of its loved one after Turkey’s earthquake

A 6-year-old girl discovered in a tsunami-era building by rescue workers in the Istanbul city of Kahramanmaras

The body of a 4-year-old girl wrapped in a pink blanket was brought out Wednesday from the wreckage of a building in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras. 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.

Rescues were attempting to reach two people who may be alive in a collapsed building next to them. A generator was brought up to power a pneumatic hand-operated drill; the man directing it cleared away the rubble with his bare hands.

He might have seen signs of life beneath the debris, but rescuers told him there was still a lot of work to be done.

Rescue teams continued to search through the rubble after the deadly earthquake and aftershocks as the day wore on.

Heavy machinery has been increasingly brought into areas where a day earlier cautious searchers relied on their hands to dig through the rubble. The chance of survival for those trapped alive must be weighed against the risk.


The earthquakes of Kahramanmaras: Turkey is ready for its next phase, and Turkey is prepared to take its ills seriously

A man volunteering at one of the hospitals in Kahramanmaras told CNN Wednesday there were 350 bodies in the morgue that had not been collected by relatives because their family members had died.

As Turkey continues to reel in shock and die toll increases, the president flew to the southern region of the country to see the destruction for himself.

He went to the emergency relief area with officials from the country’s disaster management agency. Some of the thousands of families that have lost their homes will be housed in the white tents in the sports stadium.

In a televised briefing from the relief center, Erdogan said the government’s target was to rebuild the Kahramanmaras region “in one year” and that people would get help with emergency housing.

“We can never let our citizens stay on the streets,” Erdogan said. The state is using all of its resources. We will continue to do that.

He acknowledged the government’s initial response “had some problems” in terms of natural gas supply and roads, but said the situation was “under control.” 10,000 Turkish Liras are planned to be given to families impacted by the earthquake.

The buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras have not been unscathed by the earthquakes but those in the newer areas have suffered less obvious damage.

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.

Some people clutched photographs of their loved ones who are under the rubble, less in hope of their rescue than as an act of remembrance, holding out photos of their children or wedding pictures and saying that they are gone.

Over 36,000 people have died since an earthquake and a series of powerful aftershocks shook Turkey and Syria, leveling cities such as Islahiye. Many Turkish politicians and experts say the toll is likely far higher.

There is a three month state of emergency in ten Turkish provinces, aid agencies warn of a “catastrophic” impact on northwest Syria, where millions of vulnerable and displaced people already rely on humanitarian support.

The Sonmez family in Colaklar: A man’s last moments under the rubble, two bodies still in the hospital after the earthquake

The Sonmez family from Colaklar arrived last Tuesday with the rest of the family. The first volunteer teams began recovering bodies and survivors more than 24 hours after the quake. They looked through concrete and the remnants of people’s lives to find Derya Duffield and her children.

They were crushed by the weight of their apartment block and all of them held each other close in the last moments of their lives.

Sitting in the ruins of the building, Me like Bayar can’t help but tear up. Two people are still beneath the rubble, their mother and sister. They have yet to be found. On the night of the earthquake, Kamil was in the hospital for treatment for his chronic disease.

Younger relatives, including 26-year-old Mehmet Gezici and his wife, Zinan Gezici, 23, who flew in from Paris to help after the quake, are less optimistic. They think Semra and Sakine are dead.

Many blame the scale of the tragedy on the corrupt construction industry and lack of implemented regulations. The Turkish government has arrested a number of building contractors for their alleged role in the deaths.

On Saturday, Garo Paylan, a representative from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party in the province of Diyarbakir, wrote on social media that the government was undercounting deaths caused by the earthquake. Over 200,000 people are believed to still be under the rubble. Search teams in both Turkey and Syria believe the hope of recovering people alive at this point is slim.

He was spared from the earthquake and drove from his home in Gaziantep to Islahiye an hour away. The building that his mother and sisters lived in looked like a heap of plates, because of the floors and ceilings. He was trying to clear rubble with his bare hands. He hasn’t left the site since.

The first concrete lift arrived on Wednesday but was only able to lift 100 tons. The second arrived Saturday, six days after the earthquake. The volunteer crews only made their way down from the 6th floor to the 3rd floor in a week.


Hidayet, Derya, and the family of the victims of the September 11, 2001, Earthquake, arrive in the present tense

The family of the woman who died in the earthquake have been here since last Monday. The first to leave was her brother Hidayet, the only one of the six siblings who didn’t make it.

He said, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing really badly,” when asked how he was. As he speaks, his eyes dart back to the collapsed building where his sister and mother still lie.

Hidayet says that when he arrived Monday morning, people told him they had heard children’s screams from the direction of Derya’s apartment. For at least some time after the earthquake, the family believes, the children were alive. They think help came too little, too late.

While waiting for crews to locate their mother and sister, they hold each other as they warm themselves around a fire that was burning for a week.

Still, they try to share happy memories, and they speak of their loved ones in the present tense. The four young children and their parents still exist.

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