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Search for Turkish quake survivors go on
Rescue teams pull a teacher out of the rubble in Ecris, six days after being buried.
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 10:30
The death toll after the  7.2 magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey now stands at 582  [Reuters]

Turkish rescue teams are still looking for survivors at four collapsed buildings six days after a powerful earthquake.

Authorities said the death toll in the 7.2-magnitude earthquake is now 582. They said 455 of them died in the hardest-hit city of Ercis in eastern Turkey.

Searchers on Saturday pulled out a 27-year-old teacher alive from a crumbled building and continued drilling through the wreckage in search of two other missing people.

On Friday a 13-year-old boy was pulled out alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Ercis, coming just hours after rescue workers found another survivor, 18-year-old Imdat Padak, after burrowing deep into the ruins in Ercis for more than two days.

Padak was flown to the nearby city of Van. He was dehydrated but in good condition, the Anatolia news agency said.

With most search operations beginning to wind down, about 185 people have been found alive under the collapsed buildings since the quake struck on Sunday, according to an official count.

Some homeless survivors have been forced to sleep in the open in freezing cold due to shortage of tents and other relief materials.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies put the number of "affected people" at 50,000. About 2,000 buildings have been destroyed and authorities declared another 3,700 buildings unfit for habitation.

Slow response

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, acknowledged on Wednesday that the government had been slow to respond, after officials were criticised over their response to the crisis.

"We admit that we failed in the beginning, within the first 24 hours. We acknowledge flaws but these mistakes are pretty normal in such incidents," he said.

There have also been reports of aid lorries being looted in Ercis and Van, the worst affected towns.

"Everyone is getting sick and wet. We have been waiting in line for four days like this and still nothing. It gets to our turn and they say they have run out," Fetih Zengin, an estate agent whose house was badly damaged in Ercis, said.

"We slept under a piece of plastic erected on some wood boards we found. We have 10 children in our family, they are getting sick. Everyone needs a tent, snow is coming. It's a disaster."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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