A man buried alive alongside his deceased wife was rescued in Turkey after a 48-hour ordeal.
The death toll from the Monday earthquake in Turkey and Syria has surpassed 11,000. The man, named Abdulalim Muaini, was rescued from the rubble of a fallen building in Hatay, Turkey, and was pictured wedged between a concrete slab and his wife’s body.
He was carried out of the ruined building along with the bodies of his wife and two daughters. Muaini was given medical treatment while the bodies of his wife and daughters were placed nearby, wrapped in blankets.
The earthquake has claimed the lives of 8,574 people in Turkey and 2,662 in Syria, making it the deadliest seismic event in over a decade, with a total of 11,236 casualties.
If experts’ worst fears are realized, the death toll could double and approach the 20,000 deaths caused by the 2011 Japan earthquake.
Rescue efforts continue as teams search for survivors trapped in the rubble of their homes. Despite the odds, people are still being rescued more than two days after the initial 7.8-magnitude quake, including an entire Syrian family who was found alive after being trapped in the dark for days.
Rescue teams have managed to save children from the rubble in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit southeast Turkey and northern Syria.
A 3-year-old boy was rescued from a collapsed apartment building, while a 10-year-old girl was rescued from the rubble of her home. Despite these heartening moments, many more are still believed to be trapped under piles of concrete and metal, with time running out for the injured and trapped.
A Syrian boy filmed himself from inside a collapsed building, expressing uncertainty about his survival.
Despite efforts by rescuers, the situation is becoming more difficult as temperatures drop and aftershocks continue. The Minister of Environment and Urbanization warned that the rescue efforts are most intense and sensitive in the 55th hour after the earthquake.
The aftermath of the earthquake in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria has been made worse by a winter storm that has made many roads impassable. Traffic jams stretch for miles in some areas, and survivors are feared to be at risk of freezing. People are hesitant to return to their homes, fearing they could collapse at any moment, and are instead sleeping in their cars.
The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 southeast provinces on Tuesday. He plans to visit the epicenter of the earthquake in Pazarcik and the worst-hit province of Hatay on Wednesday. Despite 60,000 aid personnel on the ground, many people are still in need of help as the devastation is widespread.
Nations such as the US, China, and Gulf States have pledged support and search teams and relief supplies have started to arrive by air. However, the future looks bleak for survivors. The WHO warns that up to 23 million people could be affected by the earthquake and is urging nations to provide aid. Many people have sought refuge from the cold rain, snow, and aftershocks in mosques, schools, and bus shelters, burning debris to stay warm.
In northern Syria, near the border, the impact of the decade-long civil war and the Syrian-Russian air bombardments have left hospitals destroyed, the economy in ruins, and shortages of electricity, fuel, and water.
In the rebel-held town of Jindayris, the rescue of a newborn baby was bittersweet. The baby was still attached to her deceased mother. A relative, Khalil al-Suwadi, told AFP that they heard a voice while digging and found the baby, still connected to the umbilical cord.
The cord was cut, and the baby was taken to a hospital. However, the infant’s future looks challenging as she is the only survivor among her close family, who were all buried in a mass grave on Tuesday.
The Syrian Red Crescent is appealing to Western nations to lift their sanctions and provide aid. The government of President Bashar al-Assad is viewed as a pariah in the West, making international relief efforts complicated.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, stated that the U.S. will not work with the Damascus government, but aid will go to the Syrian people and not the regime. Aid agencies have also called for the Syrian government to allow for the reopening of border crossings to provide aid to rebel-held areas. The Turkey-Syria border is known to be one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.
The recent earthquake that struck Turkey is the largest the country has experienced since 1939, with previous devastating quakes occurring in 1939 and 1999. Experts have long warned that a major earthquake could wreak havoc in Istanbul, a city of 16 million with a large number of unstable homes.