Rescuers race to find survivors after magnitude-6.6 earthquake

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Rescue workers were searching eight wrecked buildings on Nov. 1 amid dwindling hope for survivors as the death toll from a powerful earthquake that hit western Turkey rose to 69.

The 6.6-magnitude quake also injured over 940 people, the Turkish emergency authority AFAD said, after it struck on Oct. 30 afternoon near the west coast town of Seferihisar in İzmir province.

Since 7 p.m. local time (1600GMT) on Nov. 1, some 987 aftershocks, with 43 of them over magnitude 4 have hit the area since then, AFAD said.

It added that 949 people have been injured, while 729 of them discharged from hospitals, 220 people still under treatment.

Temporary accommodation centers were established to meet the urgent need for shelter in İzmir, with 3,545 tents, 57 general-purpose tents, 24,382 blankets, 13,280 beds, 5,500 sleeping sets, 2,657 kitchen sets, and 4 showers and toilet containers shipped to the zone, AFAD noted.

So far, 1,040 tents have been installed, with 1,430 more currently in the installation phase.

“We are determined to heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters in Izmir, who are affected by the earthquake,
before cold weather and rains start,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Black Sea province of Samsun.

Earlier, the president said new houses will be built for those whose homes have been destroyed “as soon as possible.

President Erdoğan pledges new houses, rental support for citizens suffered in İzmir quake

President Erdoğan pledges new houses, rental support for citizens suffered in İzmir quake

A survivor was pulled from the rubble on Oct. 31 in İzmir, 33 hours after the earthquake struck İzmir. Teams rescued the 55-year-old from the debris of a collapsed building in the Bayraklı region, where the quake caused the most destruction.

Rescuers race to find survivors after magnitude-6.6 earthquake

Ahmet Citim, 70, was pulled out from the rubble shortly after midnight on Oct. 31 and was hospitalized. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that the man said: “I never lost my hope.”

Search-and-rescue teams continued work in eight buildings in Izmir as day broke on the third day. AFAD said more than 5,700 personnel from state agencies, municipalities and non-governmental organizations had been activated for rescue work and hundreds of others for food distribution, psycho-social help and building damage control.

Vice President Fuat Oktay said 26 badly damaged buildings would be demolished.

During a visit to İzmir, he said that nearly 300 buildings were damaged although most were only lightly affected.

“It’s not the earthquake that kills but buildings,” he added, repeating a common slogan.

Partial tsunami

İzmir Governor Yavuz Selim Köşger said the quake triggered a partial tsunami in the coastal district of Seferihisar, which left at least one person injured.

More than 475 vehicles and nearly 4,000 “scue workers, along with 20 sniffer dogs, were dispatched to the scene.

The Coast Guard Command is participating with 116 personnel, 11 boats, three helicopters and one diving team.

The Turkish Red Crescent sent 112 staffers, 137 volunteers, 27 vehicles and five mobile field kitchens with a capacity to serve more than 25,000 people.

Kerem Kınık, head of the Turkish Red Crescent, said a capacity to feed 56,300 people was created in İzmir.

Also, 960 disaster tents, 4,500 blankets, 3,672 beds were sent to the region, according to AFAD.

Nearly 114,500 masks and 5,000 disinfectants were dispatched to the region to be distributed by the Turkish Red Crescent public health and psychosocial support teams.

A total of 836 vehicles and 6,049 personnel have been assigned to search and rescue, medical, psychosocial support and humanitarian aid in the region, according to Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Also, three mobile coordination trucks, seven military cargo aircraft, one unmanned aerial vehicle, six helicopters and 292 security personnel were dispatched to the region, it added.

Five million Turkish liras ($600,000) was sent to the region by the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry, and 3 million liras ($360,000) was provided by AFAD.

The National Defense Ministry established a crisis desk and two military helicopters are taking part in search and rescue efforts.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed solidarity and said Turkey stands by its “citizens affected by the earthquake.”

“We took action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers,” he added.

Erdoğan said the government, together with ministers and all institutions, is making all efforts to save people, who have
been under the rubble of collapsed buildings, and to help everyone affected by the shock.

“We have mobilized all the means available for rescue efforts to be concluded as soon as possible,” he said.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the quake was also felt in his city, 328 kilometers (204 miles) north of İzmir, but the metropolis did not suffer any damage.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said several neighboring provinces, including Uşak, Denizli, Manisa, Balıkesir, Aydın and Muğla, sustained minor damages to several buildings.

National Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said schools were suspended for a week in İzmir.

Adil Karaismailoğlu, the transportation and infrastructure minister, said there were no problems in transportation or communication.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli personally spoke via telephone with several victims who were stuck under debris and later rescued.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said ministry teams were directed to the region to avoid problems with energy supplies.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said an investigation was initiated by the provincial Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and autopsy procedures and forensic medicine services were provided without interruption.

Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun conveyed condolences to the families and friends of those killed.

“We pray that there is no further loss of life in Turkey or Greece and we send our best wishes to all those affected on both sides of the earthquake,” he said on Twitter.

Altun added that Turkey is ready to help Greece if needed.

The National Observatory of Athens’ Institute of Geodynamics initially put the magnitude of the quake at 6.6 but later revised it to 6.7.

It struck northwest of the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, said the observatory.

Two children were reported killed on Samos.

Hurriyet Daily News

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