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Turkey-Syria quake toll tops 22,000

New-born and mother saved after four days in rubble

February 11, 2023 00:00:00

A baby wrapped in a thermal blanket after being rescued from a ruined building — BBC

KAHRAMANMARAS (Turkey), Feb 10 (AFP/BBC): Rescuers pulled children alive Friday from the rubble of the Turkey-Syria earthquake as the toll surpassed 22,000 and bitter cold compounded the suffering of the homeless.

In the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, one of those hit hardest by the region's worst earthquake in nearly a century, the stench of death clung to the air.

But as crews entered a fifth day of peeling back flattened buildings, Turkish media reported rescues of young children, long after the expiration of the 72-hour window when survivors are considered most likely to be found.

In the 105th hour, rescuers pulled 18-month-old Yusuf Huseyin from the debris in the southeastern city of Antakya. Twenty minutes later, they rescued seven-year-old Muhammed Huseyin, NTV news channel reported.

Three-year-old Zeynep Ela Parlak was also rescued in Antakya on Friday, while in Adiyaman province, rescuers saved a 60-year-old Eyup Ak and in Gaziantep, two people were pulled out alive including a child whose age was not known.

"Half an hour ago, we managed to rescue two living people out of the rubble," the Czech fire service tweeted Friday of their teams in southeastern Turkey's Adiyaman.

On Thursday, rescuers pulled a 10-day-old baby and his mother out alive after 90 hours trapped in hard-hit Hatay province, Turkish officials said.

The baby boy named Yagiz Ulas was swiftly wrapped in a thermal blanket.

Turkey's miners, expert in rescuing their own colleagues, told how they rushed to help people trapped by Monday's 7.8 magnitude quake.

"Our hearts couldn't take this," said miner Ismail Hakki Kalkan.

Yet the bodies of seven Cypriot children, as well as two teachers and a parent killed by the earthquake in Adiyaman were flown home on Friday, with Turkish media reporting that 19 children in the group died.

Two dozen children aged 11 to 14 from the island, along with 10 parents, four teachers and a volleyball coach, were in Turkey for a school tournament and had been staying in a hotel that was destroyed.

In a region home to many displaced and traumatised by Syria's civil war, worries were growing over the many people left without shelter amid freezing temperatures.

UN aid and rescue teams have arrived, while the US Agency for International Development offered a $85-million package including food, shelter and emergency health services.

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths have both announced upcoming visits.

BBC report adds: A new-born baby and his mother have been rescued from rubble in Turkey, around 90 hours after the first of Monday's deadly earthquakes.

The 10-day-old boy, named Yagiz, was retrieved from a ruined structure in the southern Hatay province.

Footage showed the child being carefully taken out overnight - a sight described by local media as miraculous.

Hopes of finding many more survivors are diminishing, amid freezing-cold weather four days after the disaster.

However, search and rescue efforts continue in both Turkey and neighbouring Syria - which was struck by the quakes as well.

New-born Yagiz was pictured wrapped in a thermal blanket being carried to an ambulance to receive treatment.

His mother was brought out on a stretcher. There were no further updates immediately available over the health of both.

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