Earthquake in Turkey: after the end of the rescue efforts, aid focuses on millions of people left homeless

The Ulu Mosque completely destroyed after a deadly earthquake in Antioch, Turkey (REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov) (MAXIM SHEMETOV /)

International aid agencies are intensifying their efforts to help millions of homelessmany of whom are sleeping in tents, mosques, schools or cars, 11 days after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey and Syria causing more than 43,000 dead.

On Thursday it was reported that two people had been pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey, but these types of rescues are less and less frequentcausing anger to linger while hopes dwindle.

A 17-year-old girl was pulled from the ruins of a collapsed apartment block in Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, the broadcaster reported. TRT Have248 hours after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the country in the dead of night on February 6.

Footage showed her being carried away on a stretcher covered in a thermal blanket while an emergency worker attached an intravenous drip to her. About 10 hours later, neslihan kilic she was rescued.

A child walks through a refugee camp (REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A child walks through a refugee camp (REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) (KHALIL ASHAWI/)

We had prepared his grave and we asked the rescue teams to stop digging because we feared that they would damage the bodies that were left under the rubble.. Moments later, his voice was heard under the ruins of the building, ”Kilic’s brother-in-law told the chain. CNN Turkish. Kilic’s husband and two children are still missing.

The earthquake caused the death of at least 38,044 people in southern Turkeyauthorities reported on Friday, while authorities in neighboring Syria have reported 5,800 deada figure that has barely changed in days.

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

Syrian President, Bashar al-Assadin his first televised statements since the earthquake occurred, said that the response to the catastrophe required more resources than those available to the Government.

Neither Turkey nor Syria have said how many people are still missing.

UN humanitarian aid chief Martin Griffithswho visited Turkey last week, said people had “experienced indescribable anguish”, adding: “We must be with them in their darkest hour and make sure they get the support they need.”

For families still waiting to get their relatives back, outrage grows over what they consider corrupt construction practices and urban development deeply flawed that has caused thousands of homes and businesses to break up.

A man in the midst of destruction in Turkey (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)
A man in the midst of destruction in Turkey (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov) (MAXIM SHEMETOV/)

“I have two daughters. I have no more. They are both under this rubble,” Sevil Karaabduloglu said, as bulldozers tore down what was left of a luxury apartment block in the southern Turkish city of Antioch where his two daughters lived.

Some 650 people are believed to have died when the Renaissance Residence collapsed.

“We rent this place as an elite place, a safe place. How do I know the contractor built it like this?Karaabduloglu said. “Everyone is looking to make a profit. They are all guilty.”

Some 200 km away, about 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 died in the Renaissance building.

Turkey has vowed to investigate anyone suspected of being responsible for the collapse of the buildings and has ordered the arrest of more than 100 suspects, including property managers.

border crossings

On the other side of the border, in Syriathe earthquake devastated a region divided and devastated by 12 years of civil war.

The Syrian government claims that the death toll in the territory it controls is 1,414. In the rebel-held northwest, more than 4,000 fatalities, but rescue teams say no one has been found alive since February 9.

Relief efforts have been hampered by the conflict. Many Northwesters feel abandoned as supplies are almost always directed to other parts of the large disaster area.

Deliveries from Turkey were completely halted immediately after the earthquake, when a route used by the United Nations was temporarily blocked. This week, Assad authorized two more crossings.

As of Thursday, 119 UN trucks had passed through the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam crossings since the earthquake, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters.

Many survivors have fled the disaster areas, but some have decided to stay, despite the dire conditions.

We spend our days with bread, soup and meals as part of the help sent by the people. We no longer have life. We are afraid,” says Mustafa Akan, from Adiyaman, who sleeps outdoors and defends himself from the cold by burning wood in a bucket.

(With information from Reuters)

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