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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsRace Against Time to Save Earthquake Survivors in Turkey, Syria

Race Against Time to Save Earthquake Survivors in Turkey, Syria

A girl is pulled alive from the rubble by a Greek rescue team. Credit: Video screenshot/ERT

Rescuers are racing against time for survivors from the rubble of thousands of buildings brought down by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks that struck eastern Turkey and neighboring Syria.

More than 8,000 people so far have been pulled from the debris in Turkey said Turkish vice-president Fuat Oktay. About 380,000 people have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, with others huddling in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centers.

Greek rescuers freed a 6-year-old girl from the rubble of her home in the city of Iskenderun, in Turkey’s Hatay province on Tuesday. Using special equipment, the team opened a passage to reach the girl, whose arms were trapped under debris.

Search for survivors after the Turkey earthquake through social media

Associated Press reports that many people have posted to social media to plead for assistance for loved ones believed to be trapped under the rubble, with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency quoting interior ministry officials as saying all calls were being “collected meticulously” and the information relayed to search teams.

More than 5,000 people have died across both countries following Monday’s earthquake and subsequent 7.5 tremor. The combined death toll is expected to keep rising as the now-international search and rescue mission continues.

Reuters says the impact has been felt in an area spanning roughly 450 km (280 miles) from Adana in the west to Diyarbakır in the east, and 300 km (185 miles) from Malatya in the north to Hatay in the south. Syrian authorities have reported deaths as far south as Hama, about 100 km (60 miles) from the epicenter of Monday’s earthquake.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared 10 cities in the south of his country as disaster zones and said there’ll be a three-month state of emergency in each due to the damage caused.

He also thanked the 70 countries who’ve sent and offered help, including Greece.

Erdogan warned, however, that the cold winter conditions have made it harder for first responders to rescue survivors amid the wreckage, rubble, and devastation caused by the earthquake.

“Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night makes things more difficult,” the Turkish president said.

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