Rescuers race to find quake survivors in Turkey as death toll reaches 37

Rescuers race against the clock to save people trapped under rubble in Turkey and Greece as anguished mourners bury the first victims of a powerful earthquake that has so far claimed 37 lives.

The 7.0-magnitude temblor killed at least 35 people and injured nearly 900 in Turkey after striking on Friday afternoon near the west coast town of Seferihisar in Izmir province.

Also killing two teenagers on their way home from school in Greece, it caused a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and a sea surge that turned streets into rushing rivers in one Turkish coastal town.

Turkish authorities have registered nearly 600 aftershocks, dozens of them stronger than 4.0 magnitude, complicating the search for those believed to still be breathing under mountains of concrete debris.

Volunteers and recue personnel search for survivors in a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey, on October 31, 2020, after a powerful earthquake struck. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

In Bayrakli, near the Turkish coastal resort city of Izmir that was heaviest hit, families and friends looked on in agony, exhaustion and hope as workers painstakingly lifted slabs of flattened apartment blocks.

Jubilation, relief and tears of joy greet every recovered survivor. Cries of pain accompany black bags holding bodies removed from the disaster zone.

“Let me see who it is!” one man shouts.

Hope grows that more survivors could be found following reports in Turkish media that a mother and her three children were rescued some 23 hours after disaster struck.

A 53-year-old and 62-year-old were also pulled out alive hours after the quake, media reports say.

The government’s disaster agency AFAD says 100 people have been rescued.

But the wait is agonizing and the recovery work excruciatingly slow, punctuated by long silences in which rescuers — often stretched out on their knees, with their heads poking into open cracks — listened for signs of life.


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