Despair for families as winter perils hamper search and rescue in Turkey

Turkey was rocked by two powerful earthquakes on Monday. Credit: AP

A day after Turkey’s earthquake, Emma Murphy travelled with the families of the missing, the dead and the survivors as well the rescue teams trying to reach the worst hit parts of the country.

"Don't drive it," we were warned. The roads were snow bound or buckled. Get into trouble and there'd be no hope of help because stranded travellers count for little in a land where thousands are lost beneath the buildings they once slept in.

Few were taking that risk in this bitter winter, not even the rescue teams or the families desperate to know what has become of those they love and have lost touch with.

And so the departure lounges at Istanbul airport are now a strange mix of sadness and solidarity.

The airport is heaving with search teams, gathering in their hundreds at chaotic muster points, and seeking seats on flights from the capital to the shattered south and centre of this vast country.

They've made it from around the world to join Turkish colleagues. Our flight was packed with German, Spanish and Russian teams. Search kit and dogs plus medical equipment all jammed into the cabin.

But these flights are also taking family and friends on what must be some of the most dreadful journeys of their lives.

The queues for tickets are long. At the gate those who only managed a standby ticket beg for a seat and a chance to make the journey.

All around weary, frightened people struggle to comprehend what has befallen them.

ITV News spoke with a survivor of the earthquake, Oktay Yalcin, about his harrowing experience

Even a ticket is no guarantee. Snow bound runways and skies are throwing schedules and prolonging the horror.

As we reached Adana in the early hours most of the rescue workers slept ahead of the inevitable days of slog, while families peered from windows braced for what landing would bring.

Tired, frightened faces hardly able to comprehend what has happened to their country, to their worlds.

Their journey will give them answers, but not necessarily quickly. Nor the ones they hope for.

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