‘Hardest thing is to say no’: Israeli rescuers in Turkey overwhelmed by tasks ahead

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Israeli and local rescue teams work to retrieve survivors from the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, on February 8, 2023, following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southeast Turkey. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
Israeli and local rescue teams work to retrieve survivors from the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, on February 8, 2023, following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southeast Turkey. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

MARASH, Turkey — Israeli rescuers are working with Turkish operators to retrieve someone trapped beneath a collapsed building in the city of Marash, one of the hardest-hit cities in the earthquakes in southern Turkey and northern Syria.

The person inside is believed to be alive but is trapped beneath layers of concrete flooring.

The destruction in Marash is devastating, with whole neighborhoods completely flattened by the tremors. This has placed an enormous strain on rescuers, who have more assignments than they are able to complete.

“It is the hardest thing as a rescuer, to say no to someone,” one Israeli rescue worker from the United Hatzalah group says.

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