Rescuers in Turkey Still Hear Voices Under the Rubble
Rescuers in Turkey Still Hear Voices Under the Rubble
Rescuers in Turkey say they can still hear voices under the rubble
More than a week after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey, rescue teams say they are still hearing voices from under the rubble. This gives them a glimmer of hope that they will find more survivors.
Live photos were shown on a CNN affiliate. CNN Turk showed rescue workers working in two areas of the Kahramanmaras region. They were trying to save three sisters who were thought to be buried under the rubble.
State broadcaster TRT Haber said that rescue workers in the same area found and freed a 35-year-old woman who had been buried for about 205 hours.
The broadcaster also said that two brothers, Muhammed Enes Yeninar, 17, and Abdulbaki Jennifer, 21, were pulled from collapsed buildings on Tuesday. CNN Turk says that rescuers pulled an 18-year-old boy and a man alive from the rubble in the city of Adiyaman. In the southern province of Hatay, a woman was pulled alive from the rubble by a team from Ukraine.
Eight days after the earthquake and its violent aftershocks, more than 41,200 people have been confirmed dead in Turkey and Syria, and stories of people who have survived are becoming rare.
Even though the numbers haven’t been confirmed, UNICEF said it is “tragically clear” that the number of children killed by the earthquake “will continue to grow.”
James Elder, a spokesman for the UN agency for children, said that the disaster has affected 4.6 million children in the 10 provinces of Turkey that have been hit and 2.5 million children in Syria.
As rescue and recovery efforts start to take over, UN workers are rushing to get aid to survivors in Syria through two new border crossings that the government in Damascus has approved.
The UN liked that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decided on Monday to open “the two crossing points of Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra’ee” between Turkey and northwest Syria “for an initial period of three months to allow for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid”.
Martin Griffiths, the head of UN aid, tweeted on Tuesday that 11 trucks carrying UN aid went through the Bab Al-Salam crossing into northwest Syria. He also said that 26 more trucks went through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing into the area.
The news came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the two new border crossings that will let aid into Syria from Turkey “are open and goods are flowing”.
Guterres stressed that access, funding, and supplies shouldn’t make it harder for people to get help after this natural disaster.
Guterres said that the UN is starting a three-month appeal for $397 million to help earthquake victims in Syria. He also said that a similar appeal for survivors in Turkey is almost done.
International aid has been slow to get to parts of northern and northwestern Syria where rebels are in control. Years of fighting and a humanitarian crisis that was already going on have made things worse for the people who are still alive. They don’t have enough food, shelter, or medicine to get through the freezing winter, and they are also being attacked by armed groups.
Last week, Faisal Mekdad, the foreign minister of Syria, said that any help the country gets must go through Damascus, the capital. But many Western countries have been reluctant to lift sanctions, even though Assad has asked them to. This is because the sanctions were put in place because Assad’s regime led a brutal campaign that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians over the course of the civil war.
Also on Tuesday, a Saudi Arabian plane carrying 35 tonnes of food, medical supplies, and shelter landed at Aleppo International Airport. This was the first shipment of aid from the kingdom to the government-held territory since the February 6 earthquake, according to Syrian state media.
Faleh al-Subei, head of the aid department at the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, said that two more planes full of aid will arrive in Syria on Wednesday and Thursday.
On the other hand, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay has denied reports that there aren’t enough food and other supplies. He said on live TV that there were “no problems with feeding the public” and that “millions of blankets are being sent to all areas”.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that more than 9,200 people from other countries are helping with search and rescue efforts in the country and that 100 countries have already offered help.
During a visit to the city of Aleppo in northern Syria on Monday, Griffiths, who is in charge of UN aid, said that the rescue phase of the response was “coming to an end”.
“Now comes the humanitarian phase, and it’s our responsibility to make sure these people have a place to live, food, schooling, and a sense of the future,” he said.
The “White Helmets,” whose real name is Syria Civil Defense, said last week that their search and rescue operation was over. On Monday, they announced a seven-day period of mourning in rebel-controlled areas in the north of the country.
“Population with trauma”
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that people affected by the terrible disaster need to “focus on trauma rehabilitation” when they are being treated.
Batyr Berdyklychev, the WHO’s representative for Turkey, talked about the “growing problem” of a “traumatized population” and said that psychological and mental health services would be needed in the affected areas.
“People are just now starting to understand what happened to them after this period of shock,” Berdyklychev told reporters Tuesday from the city of Adana in Turkey.
Berdyklychev said that the WHO is talking with Turkish officials to make sure that earthquake survivors can get mental health care. He also said that many people who had to move because of the earthquake “will also need to be reached”.
Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said at the briefing that the “immediate priority” for the 22 emergency medical teams that the WHO sent to Turkey is to “work especially to deal with the high number of trauma patients and catastrophic injuries”.
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