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Turkey Begins Legal Action as Earthquake Death Toll Tops 33,000

Almost a week after a devastating quake, rescuers are still finding survivors

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

TURKEY/ SYRIA: On Sunday, almost a week after one of the worst earthquakes to hit Turkey and Syria, rescuers pulled more people from the rubble. At the same time, Turkish officials tried to keep order and started taking legal action against people whose buildings fell down.

The death toll from Monday’s earthquake and major aftershocks in both countries surpassed 33,000 and was expected to rise. Turkey’s deadliest earthquake since 1939.

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Residents and aid workers from other cities reported robberies of businesses and collapsed homes.

President Tayyip Erdogan has responded to criticism of his handling of the earthquake by promising that the government will deal severely with looters as he gets ready for what is anticipated to be the most difficult national election of his two decades in office.

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Children among those pulled from destroyed buildings in Turkey

A father and daughter, a toddler, and a 10-year-old girl were among the survivors who were rescued from the rubble of destroyed buildings in Turkey on Sunday, almost a week after a severe earthquake.

The early Monday earthquake and its powerful aftershocks flattened swathes of towns and cities in Turkey and Syria, killing at least 33,000 people in the two nations.

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The time for rescuers to reach trapped people under the debris alive is running out as the operation enters its sixth day, yet rescuers are still finding survivors on Sunday.

Surviving 5 days under rubble in Hatay, Turkey. Photo Credit: Twitter/Gerashchenko_en

In a video posted by the Istanbul Municipality, rescuers in the southern province of Hatay are shown pulling a 10-year-old girl through a hole in the floor of a damaged structure before carrying her outdoors on a stretcher.

The girl, Cudi, was buried for 147 hours, said the Istanbul Municipality. Rescue workers in Hatay also extricated a young child from the wreckage of a fallen structure. 

A video from the Turkish health ministry shows the girl child being brought to safety by rescuers while lying on a stretcher, battered and covered in dust.

Additionally, two people—a man and his five-year-old daughter Emira—were found alive inside a collapsed structure in central Hatay. In a video released by the Kocaeli Municipality on Sunday, Emira and her father could be heard talking to rescuers while they were still buried under rubble.

“Hello, beautiful girl, we are here to take you out,” one of the rescuers stated.

Muhammed Habib, age 27, was trapped in the city of Kahramanmaras, 180 kilometres (110 miles) north of Hatay. During the 10-hour operation to free him, Muhammed Habib recited verses from the Koran to the rescuers.

As he was finally winched out by equipment, Habib was seen in a video shared on social media pumping his fist in the air and screaming, “God is the greatest,” to the plaudits of rescuers below.

A reporter said that a group of Chinese rescuers and Turkish firefighters pulled a 54-year-old Syrian man from the rubble of a building near a central park in Antakya, the capital of the Hatay province.

159 hours after the first earthquake, a woman named Saadet Coskun was extricated from a building in the town of Nurdagi in the province of Gaziantep, according to the reports.

Rescue members called on the throng on the building’s wreckage to clear a path as they brought the woman to an awaiting ambulance before bursting into cheers. Her condition was not clear.

Also Read: Turkey-Syria Rescue Efforts Continue, Death Toll Reaches 23,700

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