Teenage girl freed from rubble 10 days after earthquake in Turkey

A teenage girl was pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey on Thursday, more than 10 days after an earthquake that has killed more than 42,000 people in the country and neighbouring Syria, as families of those still missing await news of their fate.

Separately, UN has now called for over $1.4B this week to help Turkey, Syria with relief efforts

Teenager miraculously rescued 10 days after quake

4 months ago
Duration 0:39
Ten days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the region, a 17-year-old girl was safely recovered from the rubble in Turkey's southeastern Kahramanmaras province. The quake has claimed the lives of more than 42,000 people in the country and neighbouring Syria.

A teenage girl was pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey on Thursday, more than 10 days after an earthquake that has killed more than 42,000 people in the country and neighbouring Syria, as families of those still missing await news of their fate.

The 17-year-old was rescued in Turkey's southeastern Kahramanmaras province, broadcaster TRT Haber reported, 248 hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in the dead of night on Feb. 6.

Footage showed her being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance, covered with a gold-coloured thermal blanket while an emergency worker held an intravenous drip aloft.

The number of people killed by the deadliest earthquake in Turkey's modern history has risen to 36,187, authorities said. In Syria, where the earthquake has compounded a humanitarian crisis caused by 12 years of war, the reported death toll is 5,800 — a figure that has changed little in days.

International aid agencies are stepping up efforts to help the millions of people left homeless, many of whom are sleeping in tents, mosques, schools or in their own cars.

Several rescue workers in helmets are shown at a distance on a massive pile of rubble from destroyed buildings and objects.
Rescuers dig for survivors, in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey, on Wednesday, A 17-year-old girl was found alive as the desperate search for survivors entered what was likely its last hours. (Hussein Malla/The Associated Press)

The United Nations on Thursday appealed for more than $1 billion US in funds for the Turkish relief operation, just two days after launching a $400 million appeal for Syrians.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, who visited Turkey last week, said the people have "experienced unspeakable heartache," adding: "We must stand with them in their darkest hour and ensure they receive the support they need."

Several people were found alive in Turkey on Wednesday, but the number of rescues has dwindled significantly. Neither Turkey nor Syria have said how many people are still missing.

Hundreds killed at single building

For families still waiting to retrieve their lost relatives, there is growing anger over what they see as corrupt building practices and deeply flawed urban development that resulted in thousands of homes and businesses disintegrating.

In the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, a photo of two missing boys had been tied to a tree close to the block of flats where they lived.

"Their parents are deceased," said earthquake survivor Bayram Nacar, who stood waiting with other local men wearing masks as an excavator cleared a huge pile of shattered concrete and twisted metal rods behind the tree.

A giant crevice in a roadway is shown
Major cracks in the road from last week's earthquake are shown Thursday in the Pazarcik district of the city of Kahramanmaras. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

He said the bodies of the boys' parents were still under the rubble.

"The father was called Atilla Sariyildiz. His body is yet to be found. We are hoping to find the parents after the excavators remove the debris."

Around 100 people gathered at a small cemetery in the town of Pazarcik, to bury a family of four — Ismail and Selin Yavuzatmaca and their two young daughters — who all died in the doomed Renaissance Residence building collapse in Antakya, Hatara province. Around 650 people overall are believe to have perished at the Renaissance site.

LISTEN | Anger growing over alleged construction corruption in Turkey:

Anger is growing over why so many buildings collapsed when earthquakes struck parts of Syria and Turkey last week. We look into alleged construction corruption with David Alexander, a professor of emergency planning and management at University College London; and Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, a former journalist and now a fellow at the U.S.-based think tank, Brookings Institution.

More than 4,300 aftershocks have hit the disaster zone since the initial quake, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said.

Turkey has promised to investigate anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings and has ordered the detention of more than 100 suspects, including developers.

Aid convoys pick up in Syria

The Syrian government has declared the death toll in territory it controls as 1,414, saying this is the final tally.

The bulk of fatalities in Syria have been in the rebel-held northwest, but rescuers say nobody has been found alive there since Feb. 9 and the focus has shifted to helping survivors.

A man supports a very young child as it stands and looks at birds inside cages.
Syrian quake survivor Omar Hussein al-Ahmad sits with a child near his rescued birds outside his tent at a camp on the outskirts of the rebel-held town of Jandaris, Syria. (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

With much of the region's sanitation infrastructure damaged or rendered inoperable, health authorities face a daunting task in trying to ensure that people now remain disease-free.

The aid effort in the northwest has been hampered by the conflict and many people there feel abandoned as aid heads to other parts of the sprawling disaster zone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it was particularly concerned about the welfare of people in the northwest, where some four million people were already dependent on humanitarian aid before the earthquake struck.

Aid deliveries from Turkey were severed completely in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, when a route used by the United Nations was temporarily blocked.

Earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad granted approval for two additional crossings to be opened for aid — more than a week after the earthquake. The WHO has asked him to give approval for more access points to be opened.

WATCH | Aid begins to arrive but many Syrians left to fend for themselves:

Aid begins to flow into Syria more than a week after earthquake

4 months ago
Duration 2:13
A steady flow of humanitarian aid is beginning to arrive in Syria more than a week after the earthquakes, as Syria’s government agrees to open two more land crossings from Turkey. Up until now, many Syrians have been left to fend for themselves.

As of Thursday, 119 UN trucks had gone through the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam crossings since the earthquake, a spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters.

The aid was made up of food, essential medicine, tents and other shelter items, and cholera testing kits, given the area is still witnessing a cholera outbreak.

Britain said on Wednesday it was issuing two new licences to make it easier for aid agencies helping earthquake relief efforts to operate in Syria without breaching sanctions aimed at the Assad government and its backers.