Dramatic rescues continue as Turkey-Syria quake toll passes 24,000

Pic – AFIP

Rescuers pulled children and the elderly from the rubble on Saturday as miraculous survival stories coincided with hasty mass burials five days after a massive earthquake devastated parts of Turkiye and Syria, leaving almost 25,000 dead.

Tens of thousands of local and international rescue workers are still scouring through flattened neighbourhoods despite freezing weather that has compounded the misery of millions now in desperate need of aid.

However, amid the destruction and death, survivors continue to emerge.

“Is the world there?” asked 70-year-old Menekse Tabak as she was pulled out from the rubble in the southern city of Kahramanmaras — the epicentre of Monday’s 7.8-magnitude tremor — to applause and cries praising God, according to a video shared on state broadcaster TRT Haber.

In southern Hatay, a two-year-old girl was found alive 123 hours after the quake, reported the Hurriyet daily online, adding to numerous children saved long after the disaster, and a pregnant woman who was found on Friday.

Meanwhile, in southern Turkiye, families clutched each other in grief at a cotton field that has been transformed into a cemetery, with an endless stream of bodies arriving for swift burial.


Compounding the anguish, the United Nations has warned that at least 870,000 people urgently need hot meals across Turkiye and Syria. In Syria alone, up to 5.3 million people may have been made homeless.

Turkiye’s disaster agency on Saturday said nearly 32,000 people from Turkish bodies are working on search and rescue efforts. In addition, there are 8,294 international rescuers.

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