Three earthquake survivors pulled from under rubble in Turkey

Earthquake survivors rescued after 13 days: Rescuers pull three more including a teenager who spent 296 hours buried under rubble in Turkey and father who is reunited with his baby girl – as death toll passes 45,000

  • People continue to be pulled from debris almost 13 days on from the earthquake
  • Three people, including a young child, were extracted from under a building

Survivors have continued to be pulled from beneath the rubble almost a fortnight on from the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria.

On the 13th day of rescue operations, three people, including a child, were extracted from under an apartment building in Antakya, the capital of Hatay province in Turkey.

The man, woman, and child were transferred to ambulances after spending some 296 hours buried under the Kanatli apartment block in the center of the city.

More than 45,000 people have now been killed following last week’s earthquake, and the toll is expected to soar with around 264,000 apartments in Turkey destroyed and many still missing in the country’s worst modern disaster.

The death toll in Turkey stands at 39,672, while neighbouring Syria has reported more than 5,800 deaths. However, Syria’s toll has not been updated for several days. 

Two men and a child rescued by search and rescue teams from under the rubble of a collapsed building 296 hours after the powerful twin earthquakes hit Turkey on February 18, in Antakya district of Hatay

A person taken to an ambulance as three survivors were rescued by search and rescue teams in Antakya district of Hatay, Turkey, February 18, 2023

Rescue teams search for people as cranes remove debris from destroyed buildings in Antakya, southeastern Turkey

Television images showing the three survivors being carried to ambulances were broadcast to Turkish news, giving a very small glimpse of hope to families still missing loved ones.

But the window for finding people alive continues to shrink.

READ MORE: Ex-Premier League star Christian Atsu’s body is found under rubble 12 days after devastating earthquake in Turkey 

Many international rescue teams have now left the vast quake zone, as domestic teams continue to search through flattened buildings hoping to find more survivors who defied the odds. Experts say most rescues occur in the 24 hours following an earthquake.

Hakan Yasinoglu, in his 40s, was one of the fortunate survivors rescued in the southern province of Hatay, 278 hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the dead of night on February 6, last week.

Footage showed medics fixing an IV drip to his arm as he lay on a stretcher.

The other two survivors pulled from the debris today, including a child, were not yet identified. 

Hatay is one of the worst hit of the 11 provinces in the Turkish disaster zone.

Earlier, Osman Halebiye, 14, and Mustafa Avci, 34, were saved in Turkey’s historic city of Antakya, known in ancient times as Antioch. As Avci was carried away, he was put on a video call with his parents, who showed him his newborn baby.

‘I had completely lost all hope. This is a true miracle. They gave me my son back. I saw the wreckage and I thought nobody could be saved alive from there,’ his father said.

Aid organisations say the survivors will need help for months to come with so much crucial infrastructure destroyed.

Two men and a child rescued by search and rescue teams, Hatay, Turkey, February 18. 2023

A person is covered with a foil sheet as they are moved into an ambulance, Hatay, Turkey, February 18, 2023

A survivor is pulled from the rubble, Hatay, Turkey, February 18, 2023

Two men and a child rescued by search and rescue teams from under the rubble of a collapsed building 296 hours after the powerful twin earthquakes hit Turkey

Rescue teams work to save people from the rubble in Hatay, Turkey, February 18, 2023

A destroyed buildings, after a 7.8-magnitude struck the border region of Turkey and Syria, Hatay, February 17, 2023

An aerial view of collapsed buildings after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit multiple provinces including Hatay, Turkey, February 18, 2023

Buildings lie in ruins in hatay, Turkey, February 18, 2023

Turkey declared seven days of national mourning after deadly earthquakes in southern provinces

In neighbouring Syria, already shattered by more than a decade of civil war, the bulk of fatalities have been in the northwest, an area controlled by insurgents who are at war with President Bashar al-Assad – a conflict that has complicated efforts to aid people affected by the earthquake. 

It is believed the the sides clashed overnight for the first time since the disaster, with government forces shelling the outskirts of Atareb, a rebel-held town badly hit by the earthquake, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Friday.

Thousands of Syrians who had sought refuge in Turkey from their country’s civil war have returned to their homes in the war zone – at least for now.

Neither Turkey nor Syria have said how many people are still missing following the quake.

For families still waiting to retrieve relatives in Turkey, there is growing anger over what they see as corrupt building practices and deeply flawed urban development that resulted in thousands of homes and businesses disintegrating.

One such building was the Ronesans Rezidans (Renaissance Residence), which keeled over in Antakya, killing hundreds.

‘It was said to be earthquake-safe, but you can see the result,’ said Hamza Alpaslan, 47, whose brother had lived in the apartment block. ‘It’s in horrible condition. There is neither cement nor proper iron in it. It’s a real hell.’

A worker looks on as they demolish a heavily damaged building in Hatay, on February 17, 2023

Two men and a child rescued by search and rescue teams from under the rubble of a collapsed building

People sit on the rubble of their former home to protect their belongings after a powerful earthquake in Samandag, Turkey, 18 February 2023

A woman sits on the rubble of her former home to protect her belongings after a powerful earthquake in Samandag, Turkey, 18 February 2023

An excavator works through the rubble, Hatay, Turkey, February 17, 2023

Turkey has promised to investigate anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings and has ordered the detention of more than 100 suspects, including developers.

The United Nations on Thursday appealed for more than $1 billion in funds for the Turkish relief operation, and has launched a $400 million appeal for Syrians.

On Friday, Mosques around the world performed absentee funeral prayers for the dead in affected region, many of whom could not receive full burial rites given the enormity of the disaster.

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