Turkey continues rescue work after earthquake death toll hits 111

A teenager and a three-year-old girl were rescued on Monday from under collapsed apartment buildings in Izmir.

Survivors of the deadly quake watch rescue operations in the coastal province of Izmir, Turkey [Murad Sezer/Reuters]
Survivors of the deadly quake watch rescue operations in the coastal province of Izmir, Turkey [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Rescue teams have rescued two girls alive from the wreckage of their collapsed apartment buildings in the Turkish coastal area of Izmir, three days after a powerful earthquake hit Turkey and Greece.

The overall death toll reached 111 on Monday after teams found more bodies overnight and Monday morning amid the rubble in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city.

More than 1,000 people were injured in the quake, which was centred in the Aegean Sea, northeast of the Greek island of Samos. It killed two teenagers on Samos and injured at least 19 other people on the island.

More than 898 wounded victims have so far been discharged from hospitals, according to Turkey’s disaster and emergency authority (AFAD).

More than 3,500 tents and 13,000 beds were supplied to provide temporary shelter in Izmir, it added.

Early Monday, nearly 65 hours after the quake, three-year-old Elif Perincek was pulled from the debris in the Bayrakli district of western Izmir province.

Elif was the 106th person to be rescued from the rubble and was taken to hospital, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Rescue workers clapped and cheered as a 14-year-old girl was also extricated from another collapsed building, Turkey’s IHA private agency reported.

Idil Sirin was pulled out of the remains of Emrah Apartment, where she was under the rubble for 58 hours with her sister Ipek Sirin, 8, who did not survive, NTV television reported.

Sirin was rushed off to hospital immediately after her rescue.

In a Twitter post, Mehmet Gulluoglu, the head of AFAD, expressed his gratitude for rescue of Elif Perincek.

Translation: God, we thank you a thousand times. We rescued Elif alive from under the apartment building.

Elif’s mother, Seher Dereli Perincek, her 10-year-old twin siblings Ezel and Elzem, as well as their seven-year-old brother Umut were pulled from the rubble 23 hours after the earthquake struck. Umut later died while the mother and children are receiving medical care.

Turkey, which is among the world’s most seismically active zones, is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey.

There has been some debate over the magnitude of the earthquake. The US Geological Survey rated it 7.0, while Istanbul’s Kandilli Institute put it at 6.9, and Turkey’s emergency management agency said it measured 6.6.

Turkey has a mix of older buildings and cheap or illegal construction, which can lead to serious damage resulting in deaths when earthquakes hit. Regulations have been tightened to strengthen or demolish buildings and urban renewal is under way in Turkish cities, but it is not happening fast enough.

The quake triggered a small tsunami that hit Greece’s Samos and the Seferihisar district of Izmir, drowning one elderly woman. The tremors were felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul as well as in the Greek capital of Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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