Turkey-Syria earthquake: Series of dramatic rescues give moments of hope amid tragedy

ITV News cameras in Antalya captured the moment a baby stuck under the rubble for five days was finally rescued

A series of miraculous rescues in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey and Syria have provided moments of joy amidst the tragedy of the disaster that has killed more than 23,000 people.

Before dawn in Gaziantep, a provincial Turkish capital about 20 miles from the epicentre, rescuers pulled Adnan Muhammed Korkut from the basement, where he had been trapped since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck on Monday.

The 17-year-old smiled at the crowd of friends and relatives who chanted “Adnan,” “Adnan,” clapping and crying tears of joy as he was carried out and put onto a stretcher. “Thank God you arrived,” he said, embracing his mother and others who leaned down to kiss and hug him as he was being loaded into an ambulance. “Thank you everyone.”

Trapped for 94 hours, but not crushed, the teenager said he had been forced to drink his own urine to quench his thirst. “I was able to survive that way,” he said.

There were emotional scenes after a 17-year-old was successfully rescued after 94 hours under the rubble of a collapsed building

Elsewhere, a mother and daughter were pulled out of the rubble in the devastated Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, where people who have been forced from their homes are living.

The rescue of Mihriban Özçelebi and her daughter Hatice Özçelebi was made by emergency teams 92 hours after several devastating earthquakes struck southern Turkey on Monday, CNN reports.

Rescuers pulled out the daughter first, calling her by her name, before pulling out the mother, who also seems to be in good condition, waving her left hand.

Footage shows the mother being pulled out of the rubble in Kahramanmaraş. Video credit: CNN TURK

Dramatic rescues were reported elsewhere, including in Hatay province, in the city of Iskenderun.

Six members of the same family were rescued in the city on Friday, after reportedly spending 101 hours buried under rubble.

They were helped to survive by huddling together in a small pocket left within the collapsed building, said Murat Baygul, a rescue worker.

In another miraculous rescue, Eyup Ak, 60, was pulled out alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Adiyaman, 104 hours after the earthquake. He was taken to an ambulance to be checked over.

Turkish rescue workers carry Eyup Ak, 60, to an ambulance. Credit: AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

Rescue crews on Friday also pulled a 10-day-old boy and his mother from the ruins of a collapsed building in in the southern Hatay province in Turkey.

Baby Yagiz Ulas was wrapped in a thermal blanket and carried to a hospital after being recovered by rescuers who crouched under concrete slabs to retrieve him from the rubble.

Footage showed emergency workers taking away his mother to receive care.

There were no updates immediately available over the health of both.

Spanish emergency services spent 24 hours trying to rescue a small boy, his sister and his mother after they had spent four days trapped

The earthquake hit the border region between Turkey and Syria, an area home to more than 13.5 million people, early on Monday morning.

With morgues and cemeteries overwhelmed, bodies lay wrapped in blankets, rugs and tarps in the streets of some cities.

There is now a desperate race to find survivors. In the first 24 hours after an earthquake, the survivability rate in conditions like Turkey and Syria’s is 74%. On day five, marked on Friday, that rate drops to just 6%.

Additionally, temperatures remain below freezing across the large region, and many people have no place to stay.

In response, NATO allies have agreed to send semi-permanent shelters to Turkey to house the displaced.

The disaster has caused devastation across the south east of the country, as well as across the border into Syria.

On his first public visit touring the destruction wreaked by this week’s deadly earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria, Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday pointedly shamed the West for shunning his country.

The embattled president may see the disaster as an opportunity to push for an easing of his country’s isolation - if not from the United States and the European Union, which have enforced sanctions for years over the long, brutal civil war, then from Arab nations.

“The West prioritised politics over the humanitarian situation,” Mr Assad told a group of reporters while visiting the Aleppo neighbourhood of Masharqa, devastated by Monday’s quake.

“It’s natural that they politicise the situation, but there is no humanitarianism, neither now nor in the past.”

Mr Assad's government said it will allow earthquake aid to reach all parts of the country, including areas held by rebel groups in the northwest.

Syrian state TV reported that the government will allow aid deliveries to be made under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to guarantee that they reach people in need.

Turkey’s disaster management agency said more than 19,300 people had been confirmed killed in the disaster so far in Turkey, with more than 77,000 injured. More than 3,300 have been confirmed killed in Syria, bringing the total number of dead to more than 23,000.

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