Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Survivors found under rubble after eight days but hopes fade for many more

Fatos Baruc sits on a chair as she waits for her belongings to take away from a damaged building in Pazarcik, Turkey, Credit: AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Survivors are still miraculously being pulled out of the rubble eight days after a devastating earthquake flattened large parts of Turkey and Syria and killed tens of thousands of people.

A boy and a man were rescued in Kahramanmaras, which lies in south-east Turkey, early on Tuesday morning, some 198 hours after the initial earthquake struck on February 6.

Elsewhere, in Adiyaman province, rescuers reached 18-year-old Muhammed Cafer Cetin, who was pulled out from a collapsed building to be put on a stretcher with an oxygen mask, making it out to daylight on the 199th hour. “We are so happy,” his uncle said.

Emergency workers were also trying to reach a grandmother, mother and daughter, all from one family, who seem to still be alive, though experts say the window to find survivors is closing.

In a bid to rescue pets caught up in the disaster, field hospitals have been set up in four cities.

“One of the dogs clung to its owner’s corpse, and it was absolutely a miracle that it was rescued six days later,” Csenay Tekinbas, a representative of the local HAYTAP animal welfare group, said. “I hope it holds on to life,” Tekinbas said of the dog that finally left its dead owner. “I hope we can give it a new life.”

Mehmet Gurkan rescues a dog that was trapped for seven days inside a house affected by the earthquake in Antakya, south-eastern Turkey. Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

The death toll from the magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 quakes that struck nine hours apart on February 6 has passed 37,000, and is certain to increase as search teams find more bodies.

An appeal started by the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help the earthquake victims has now raised £74.1 million in five days, including £5 million matched by the UK government.

The DEC - which includes 15 charities such as the British Red Cross, Oxfam and ActionAid - is raising money for aid and support to help those impacted, including through supporting hospitals and medical services.

In Syria, President Bashar Assad agreed to open two new crossing points from Turkey to the country’s rebel-held northwest to deliver desperately needed aid and equipment to millions of earthquake victims, the United Nations announced on Monday.

The crossings at Bab Al-Salam and Al Raée will be opened for an initial period of three months. Until now, the UN has only been allowed to deliver aid to the Idlib area through a single crossing at Bab Al-Hawa.

The total death toll in Syria, a country in the midst of a bloody civil war, has reached 5,714, while, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, the Turkish toll now exceeds 31,643.

ITV News' Dani Sinha reports on the urgent efforts to get humanitarian aid to Syria and Turkey in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake

The earthquake affected ten provinces in Turkey that are home to some 13.5 million people, as well as a large area in northwest Syria that is home to millions. Quake survivors face difficult conditions amid wrecked cities, with many sleeping outdoors in freezing weather and much of the region's water system not working.

Turkey’s health minister said samples taken from dozens of points of the water system were “microbiologically unfit,” which highlights how precarious basic needs continue to be. More than 41,500 buildings were destroyed or so damaged that they would have to be demolished, the Minister of Environment and Urbanization said. There are bodies under these buildings and the number of missing remain unclear.

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