Izmir, Turkey – Frantic search and rescue efforts continued in the Turkish city of Izmir from Monday, from which a little girl was rescuedProviding a glimpse of hope. But the toll was devastating; A 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Friday morning officially killed at least 91 people by Monday. About 900 more were injured, and many are still missing.
Rescuers were still rushing to reach the survivors trapped under the rubble of five different apartment blocks in Izmir on Monday. Dozens of people went missing, local rescue agencies said, and family members gathered around the broken buildings in hopes of being a token of any loved ones.
Rescuers managed to get a 3-year-old girl out of a level building that saved her from being trapped in the rubble for 65 hours. When the earthquake struck, Elif Perinash stayed in his family’s home with his three siblings and his mother. Her mother and twin sisters were rescued earlier, but her 7-year-old brother died.
The video on Turkish television featured rescuers and TV journalists, when the little girl was pulled from the broken concrete on Monday. But suffering awaited for many other families.
An 8-storey building is believed to have collapsed to 29-year-old dentist Yishim Amir. Fighting tears, her mother, Sibel Suruk, told CBS News on Saturday that the family was bound by the hope, “Praying will make it alive.”
By Monday, at least 106 people had been pulled out of the wreckage, but there was still no trace of Amir.
The country’s Disaster and Relief Agency said that more than 5,700 personnel from state and local government agencies and civil society groups have joined the rescue efforts. Rescuers were taking significant risks, slipping through the cracks and climbing the demolished concrete and steel of the demolished buildings to reach the survivors.
Burak Ghalip Akurt was among them. He said that survivors from previous disasters were found alive after five days buried under rubble.
“We never gave up hope. It’s for the team, but the people who are waiting outside,” he said.
Lucky escaped when the earthquake struck. Zeki Soysal saw the building where he had a shop partially in front of his eyes. He said he did not care that he had lost his business and was “grateful to be alive.”
More than 5,000 people were living in tents, as at least 58 buildings collapsed or were severely damaged. Many were simply horrified to return to their homes amidst strong aftershocks. More than 1,000 aftershocks were recorded as of Monday after the initial temple on Friday.
The city schools were to be closed all week.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to “heal the wounds” of the disaster before winter arrives.
Emergency accommodation as a shipping container city was being built to accommodate at least 1,000 people.
The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Aegean Sea, about 10 miles from the Turkish Sea. The most serious damage occurred in Izmir, but two teenagers were also killed on the island of Samos, Greece.
Turkey sits on active fault lines and has experienced large earthquakes in the past. In 1999, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake killed more than 17,000 people.
Turkey was already struggling to cope with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases due to Friday’s earthquake. Health Minister Fahrtin Koka said he understood the difficulty of practicing social disturbances in congested tents and other temporary relief centers, but still warned of coronovirus danger.
“We urge all our citizens to take precautions against the coronovirus epidemic,” he said. “We cannot give in to an epidemic to deal with after an earthquake.”