More than 4,800 people die in an earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Much of the destruction was concentrated around Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, a metropolis of two million where whole blocks now lay in ruins beneath collecting snow.
On Tuesday, rescue workers in Turkey and Syria looked for survivors trapped by a series of earthquakes that have killed at least 4,800 men. Despite the cold, darkness, aftershocks, and crumbling structures, they did so.
Several thousand structures were reportedly destroyed by disaster agencies in cities spanning a large border region. This added suffering to a country already struggling with conflict, insurgency, refugee crisis, and a recent cholera epidemic.
When the first big 7.8-magnitude quake hit early Monday, survivors sifted through the mangled rubble of multi-story apartment buildings with their hands, searching for loved ones and anybody else who could have been trapped within.
A little girl, aged seven, was rescued from the rubble of a building collapse in Hatay, Turkey, asking, in a distressed voice, “Where is my mum?” The kid’s face, hair, and pajamas were coated in dust.
It was difficult for anyone to believe the magnitude of the calamity that had befallen their city.
‘We believed it was the apocalypse,’ Melisa Salman, a 23-year-old journalist in Kahramanmaras in southern Turkey, said.
Large sections of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, a metropolis of two million where whole blocks now lay in the rubble beneath collecting snow, bore the brunt of the earthquake’s destruction.
When another building fell nearby, it sent people running and screaming for shelter from the pile of brick, plasterboard, and furniture that had once been a multi-story structure.
Many exhausted and traumatized survivors stayed the night outside, unable to bring themselves back inside because of the constant tremors from aftershocks.
Some hid beneath covered bus stops, others covered themselves in plastic to ward off the cold rain, and those burnt trash to get warm.
Mustafa Koyuncu loaded up his family of five kids and a wife into the vehicle.
“We can’t go home,” the 55-year-old man told AFP. To paraphrase, “Everyone is scared.”
Officials from the World Health Organization have speculated that as many as 20,000 people may have lost their lives.
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Omer El Cuneyd, a 20-year-old student in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa, stated, “There is a family I know beneath the debris.”
My pal continued to accept calls until after noon (11:00). But now she will only bother to respond. They found her below.
Doctors and nurses were stretched thin trying to help the estimated 20,000 wounded.