Teenager survived 182 hours after earthquake in Turkey under rubble

Teenager survived 182 hours after earthquake in Turkey under rubble

A week after the earthquake, a 13-year-old boy was rescued from the rubble of a house in Hatay province. But hope for survivors is dwindling, the death toll has risen to over 37,500.

A week after the catastrophic earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border area, the death toll continues to rise. Though people were still being pulled out of the rubble as of Monday morning, hope for miracles like these is fast fading. The confirmed death toll is now over 37,500 and more than 80,000 people were injured. UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths, who arrived in Aleppo on Monday, expects up to 50,000 dead. Austrian army soldiers packed their bags in Turkey on Monday.

However, there are still successful rescue operations, although they are increasingly rare. On Monday, rescuers pulled out a survivor
13-year-old children from the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay province, in southern Turkey, from the rubble of a collapsed building, reports the Portal news agency – more than a week after the earthquake.

The teenager held the hand of a rescuer as he was placed on a stretcher, with his head supported and covered for warmth, before being wheeled into an ambulance.

Turkey reports over 30,000 dead and counting

In Turkey alone, there are now 31,643 deaths, state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday, citing civil protection authority Afad. More than 80,000 people were injured. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of victims in Syria is at least 5,900.

Thousands of people are still missing. Even after 175 hours or more under the rubble, isolated people were still rescued. In Hatay province, a woman was rescued alive on Monday morning, the daily newspaper “Hürriyet” reported – another person after 176 hours. There was also good news from Gaziantep province: Rescuers pulled a 40-year-old person alive from the ruins of a five-story house after 170 hours, as reported by state broadcaster TRT. The survivors who are now found must have had access to liquids – such as rainwater, snow, supplies or other sources. Typically, a person can go without water for about 72 hours, after which it becomes life threatening.

Army soldiers are returning home

Meanwhile, international aid organizations are winding down their operations in the crisis area. Army soldiers also packed their bags in Turkey on Monday, but the return flight is not scheduled until Thursday. Helpers were no longer asked for action on Sunday. A rescue and recovery team will remain on standby for any needs until noon on Monday.

Since Tuesday, 82 soldiers have been in the hard-hit Turkish province of Hatay. On Monday, soldiers from the so-called Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit (AFDRU) began to break up the camp. Rescuing people is becoming “increasingly unlikely due to the advancing weather”, said operations manager Bernhard Lindenberg. Throughout the day, soldiers will travel to Adana and “start to reorganize there,” Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Kugelweis told the APA. 43 tons of special equipment, including five vehicles, must be prepared for the return journey.

In Adana, emergency services will be housed in a hotel. The “stressful mission will be processed with military psychologists,” Kugelweis said. The disposition among the military “is good, we are very proud of having managed to save nine lives”, reported the lieutenant colonel, recalling that there have already been seismic operations in which no one was saved. “This gives us a lot of strength”, said Kugelweis, as well as the “gratitude of the population, it is enormous. stress,” reported the soldier.

Hatay Airport reopens

As rescue work continues, the airport in Hatay province in southeastern Turkey has been put back into operation. Semi-public airline Turkish Airlines tweeted on Monday morning that residents of the earthquake area could book seats on free evacuation flights. Hatay Airport was badly damaged by the earthquake. A week ago, on Monday morning, the first tremor of magnitude 7.7 shook the region at 2:17 am CET, followed hours later by a second severe aftershock of magnitude 7.6.

In many parts of Turkey, grief turns to anger. People also wonder why so many buildings can collapse. The first arrest warrants were issued. The accused are held responsible for construction defects that would have favored the collapse of the building, state news agency Anadolu reported, citing prosecutors. Experts criticize that building regulations for greater earthquake protection are not implemented. The opposition blames the government for the botched construction.

Opposition criticizes Erdogan

Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Sunday once again accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years, of failing to prepare the country for such an earthquake. He also criticized the fact that the government issued a building amnesty in 2018, whereby illegally erected buildings were later legalized in exchange for a fine. “They turned the houses people live in into cemeteries and took money for it,” said the opposition leader.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised Erdogan in a phone call on Sunday that she would provide more tents, blankets and heaters.

The situation in Syria, a country in civil war, is particularly difficult. There, the humanitarian organization SAMS warned against returning to destroyed homes. In the small town of Djindiris, a few hours after the tremors, a pregnant woman was pulled out of a semi-destroyed house with minor injuries, said the aid organization that works in rebel areas. After the birth of her son, she was back at home. The building completely collapsed during an aftershock. The woman, as well as the baby, were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

WHO awaits approval on aid supplies to Syria

The World Health Organization (WHO) has convoys of earthquake relief ready for rebel areas in northwest Syria, but is still waiting for delivery authorization. The Damascus government has given full approval to bring convoys from government-controlled areas to rebel areas, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday in the Syrian capital Damascus. “We’re ready, we’re waiting to hear from the other side,” said Tedros. The area around Idlib is under militia control.

Aid organization White Helmets, which operates in northwest Syria, complained on Friday that virtually no UN earthquake aid had reached the region so far. According to Tedros, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave him the prospect of opening more border crossings between the northwest and Turkey because of the emergency situation.