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          Home / World / Turkiye and Syria earthquake

          Hopes fade for finding quake survivors as death toll surpasses 17,000 in Turkiye

          Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-10 08:30
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          A man in grief while rescuers search for survivors among the debris of a building destroyed in the earthquake in Adiyaman Province, Türkiye, Feb 9, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

          ANKARA - Rescue teams continued to spare no effort to search for more survivors trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings on Thursday, though hopes faded quickly on the 4th day after two massive earthquakes jolted Turkiye.

          The death toll from the devastating earthquakes climbed to 17,134 in Turkiye, with 71,806 injuries as of Thursday, according to Turkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

          The number of casualties is expected to increase further once the search efforts are over across a wide area of 10 provinces. Experts warned that the chances of saving lives have dropped sharply after 72 hours of the quakes that hit the country on Monday.

          Still, the miracles of pulling out more survivors from under the rubble of collapsed buildings over 80 hours after the quakes were encouraging.

          The state broadcaster TRT showed Turkish rescue teams pulling out a 60-year-old woman named Meral Nakir from the wrecks of a flattened apartment in Malatya on Thursday.

          The injured woman was pulled from the rubble of a six-story building with the help of a trained dog "Kopuk." The Golden Retriever rescue dog had served in the same site for two days and saved six people.

          In Antakya, Hatay, Chinese and Turkish rescuers successfully saved three women from the rubble of collapsed buildings on Thursday through their joint operations, during which two bodies of victims were also recovered.

          The Turkish parliament approved the implementation of a three-month state of emergency on Thursday as called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said the state will use this authority to prevent malign acts of some people, such as looting, in the quake-hit regions.

          Speaking in southern Gaziantep, one of the quake-affected provinces, the president said containers were being provided for temporary accommodation for those who lost homes due to the quakes, while pledging to build three- or four-story buildings in one year. He also promised to allocate 10,000 Turkish liras (530 U.S. dollars) each to the quake victims.

          With an estimated 13.5 million people in the country affected by the massive quakes, Erdogan acknowledged there were shortcomings in the immediate response on the first day of the disaster.

          A number of people have been left homeless in disaster areas. A call center was established for children whose families and relatives could not be reached in these areas. Hundreds of people from the quake-hit areas were dispatched to hospitals in other provinces.

          As many volunteers flocked to the quake-hit zones to help the victims, roads leading to the affected areas were clogged with vehicles carrying supplies or relief aid.

          International search and rescue teams, including an 82-member Chinese rescue team and several civilian teams, have arrived in Turkiye to assist in the rescue efforts.

          While the official China Search and Rescue Team was carrying out rescue operations in the southern province of Hatay, members of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, a Chinese civil rescue squad, rushed to help save trapped people in the Malatya province right after their arrival in Turkiye early Thursday.

          Some 6,479 personnel from 56 countries have arrived in Turkiye to support the search and rescue efforts or provide humanitarian and medical aid, while rescue teams from 19 more countries will be in the country in 24 hours, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday.

          Turkiye was rocked by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake early Monday, which was followed hours later by a second magnitude 7.6 quake, in the worst natural disaster ever seen in the country in the past decades.

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