FROM OUR REPORTER
GAZIANTEP — There are still those who hope there before the rubble. But there are fewer and fewer plastic chairs being used by expectant loved ones. A week after the “great earthquake”, as they call it here, only the fire remained to warm up in the chill of the Gaziantep evening. The death toll in Turkey is 31,643 but the numbers are expected to rise. Turkish media estimates put the number of adults and children at over 70,000 as digging continues through the rubble. Dramatic numbers for the displaced, 1.2 million in tents, 400,000 evacuees in other parts of the country. But as UN Secretary General Martin Griffiths announced during a visit to Aleppo: “The recovery phase is coming to an end.” “I’ve heard stories that make you cringe,” he said. However, the efforts of the emergency services continue even after dark.
In the evening, 183 hours after the first tremor, a man was literally dug up in the Turkish city of Antakya. In the morning, Adiyaman Civil Protection rescued a 6-year-old girl, Miray, from under the rubble for 178 hours. Nuray Gurbuz, 70 years old, also came out alive from the nightmare in Hatay, despite more than 7 days without water, food, with little oxygen, crushed by concrete. At 180, Kyrgyz and Turkish teams rescued a 39-year-old woman in Kahramanmaras, the city of the epicenter: Hatice Akan whispered as soon as she could speak: “I’m very cold, cover my feet.” . And after two hours, a 12-year-old boy, Kaan, was brought back to light: 7.5 days under the remains of a building in Hatay. Cudi, 11, also struggled to stay alive in the same place. She said she never lost hope and dreamed of rice with chickpeas. Her grandmother was also brought out with her.
The BBC tells the story of Hamza, a Syrian man who waits motionless outside his family’s house in Antakya: his father and three brothers are still under the rubble. He explained that on the first day of the earthquake he heard the voices of family members, the second just moans, the third someone scratching on the wall. Then silence. In Syria, the number of casualties is 2,274 in the opposition-controlled areas (the figure comes from the White Helmets), while in the Damascus-controlled areas the number is said to be 3,500. So serious is the aid situation that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is being forced to open two more gates and a rebel leader, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, who has a $10 million US bounty on his head, is making an urgent request directly to the UN to provide aid to Idlib, an area in the hands of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Hts).
In Gaziantep, as the sun sets on the former Armenian church whose roof has been destroyed, the number of buildings to be demolished begins to count. So far, a pool of 66 prosecutors has opened files on 163 people. 8 were arrested, 2 were under judicial control, 48 are in custody, 7 names are on the arrest warrant list, another 70 are under preventive arrest. The president’s critics are targeting the 100,000 amnesty requests in the 10 provinces affected by the earthquake. A sign that another race against time has begun for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That of the May elections. But there are already people who are talking about a shift.