Quake victims sleep in trains, tents, greenhouses

Quake victims sleep in trains, tents, greenhouses

Quake victims sleep in trains, tents, greenhouses

Nearly two weeks after a massive earthquake leveled tens of thousands of buildings and displaced millions of people in Türkiye and Syria, many are bedding down in tents, factories, train cars and greenhouses.

The Turkish government and dozens of aid groups have launched a massive relief effort. The government said Wednesday that more than 5,400 shipping containers have been deployed as shelters and over 200,000 tents dispatched. But it’s facing a massive disaster. The government says at least 84,000 buildings, containing more than 332,000 dwellings, were either destroyed by the Feb. 6 quake or too damaged to be used

In the mountain villages of Kahramanmaraş province, locals battle to keep warm during the bitterly cold nights.

Büyüknacar, a village just a few kilometers (miles) from the epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude quake, was severely damaged and 158 were killed. Two days after the initial tremor, a military helicopter brought supplies and on the fifth day the road was cleared.

Although the villagers have tents, they are too flimsy to keep out the cold. Villagers said they feared icy conditions in the mountains would lead to further deaths.

Meanwhile, rescuers have pulled more survivors from the debris of the Feb. 6 earthquake that devastated parts of Türkiye and Syria even as the window for finding people alive shrank.

The death toll in Türkiye increased to 40,642 on Feb. 18, bringing the overall number of earthquake fatalities in both Türkiye and Syria to 43,360.

The figure is certain to increase further as search teams retrieve more bodies amid the devastation.

The powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake was the deadliest disaster in Türkiye’s modern history.

Rescuers on Friday removed a survivor from the rubble of a collapsed building in the district of Defne, in hard-hit Hatay province, more than 11 days after the powerful earthquake struck.

Hakan Yasinoğlu, 45, spent 278 hours beneath the rubble. TV footage showed him being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance.

Search teams working overnight also found a woman and two men alive in earthquake wreckage.

The latest rescues came as crews began clearing debris in cities devastated by the earthquake.

Neslihan Kılıç, a 29-year-old mother of two, was removed from the rubble of a building in Kahramanmaraş, after being trapped for 258 hours, DHA news agency reported.

In the city of Antakya, police rescue crews found a 12-year-old boy named Osman alive after retrieving 17 bodies from a collapsed building.

“Just when our hopes were over, we reached our brother Osman at the 260th hour,” police rescue team leader Okan Tosun told DHA.

An hour later, crews reached two men inside the debris of a collapsed hospital in Antakya.

One of them, Mustafa Avci, used the mobile phone of a rescuer to call his brother and ask about family members.

“Have they all survived? he asked. “Let me hear their voices.”