According to a recent report released by the Disaster and Emergency Administration, death tolls from the devastating earthquake in Turkey have now risen to 366, with 1,301 people injured. Information provided from this source reports the quake that struck Turkey’s Van province Sunday afternoon has caused 2,262 buildings to collapse. In the towns of Van and Ercis, crews of rescuers continue to use everything available to pull trapped people out.
This troubled area of Turkey and Iran, now with ongoing and more catastrophic upset, is in desperate need of aid. Ercis — an eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border was the most devastated. Ericis is in one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones. Many buildings, with many floors collapsed one on another.
Sunday’s quake transformed hundreds of buildings and mud-brick homes into broken heaps of concrete, littered with steel strips, jagged and split, and construction debris.
The Fortunate Rescued
Lives are being saved due to ongoing efforts. In Ercis, many people were pulled of out rubble from a building that perhaps 100 live people remain in. One of the rescued used his cell phone to connect with help. Others were also rescued from the same building among them 3 children.
47 hours after the quake, a 2-week-old baby was safety pulled out, soon after her 25-year-old mother, and her grandmother were rescued from the debris. Her father and 15 others have not been accounted for.
27 hours after Sunday’s quake, a 21-year-old, Tugba Altinkaynak, was liberated from beneath rubble. She was at a family lunch with 12 other relatives. Four of them were rescued alive hours before her.
Cranes lifted slabs of splinted concrete. Relatives and residents are now digging for the missing with their bare hands, along with the professionals, with shovels. Generator-powered floodlights run. Relatives set up camp fires, all night so the rescues could continue. The crews ask for complete silence every 10 minutes so that any pleas of voices will be heard. Rescuers search and tearful families’ members help or wait.
Stories of finding love ones have been keeping hope alive. One young man tracked down the location of his fiancee from friends. She was buried and he found her and with help was able to dig her out. If not for his tenacity she may not have been found.
The Aftermath of Disaster
200 aftershocks shook and agitated area. Thousands have been left homeless or too afraid to re-enter their homes. Temperatures drop to freezing at night.
The depth of the epicenter was considered shallow — 12.4 miles, shallower than the earthquake that ripped apart Haiti in January 2010. However, the damage in Turkey seems even more severe. They need help.
Fires and prayers and a general consensus of “God Willing” is the remaining hope as rescue efforts go on but expect to wind down and end soon.
Many of the structures affected in part of Turkey are not built up to a code that would protect against quakes. About 1/3 of the buildings are not up to the stringent codes that Turkey does have. They are in place, but ignored.
Image of baby rescued 47 hours after Turkey earthquake via twitpic