ERCIS, Turkey – After 48 hours, a miracle emerged from a narrow slit in
rubble of a Turkish apartment building: a 2-week-old baby girl,
half-naked but still breathing.
Stoic rescue workers erupted in
cheers and applause at her arrival — and later for her mother’s and
grandmother’s rescues — happy news on otherwise grim day when the death
toll from Sunday’s earthquake climbed to at least 432 and desperate
survivors fought over aid.
The fact that three generations were
saved in a dramatic operation was all the more remarkable because the
infant, Azra Karaduman, was later declared healthy after being flown to a
hospital in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
showed rescuer Kadir Direk in an orange jumpsuit wriggling into a pile
of concrete and metal — what was left from a five-story apartment block —
and then wriggling out with Azra, clad only in a T-shirt.
be!” someone shouted. “Get out of the way!” another person yelled as
the aid team and bystanders cleared a path to a waiting ambulance.
a separate rescue later Tuesday, 10-year-old Serhat Gur was pulled from
the rubble of another building after being trapped for 54 hours. He was
wrapped in a blanket and taken to an ambulance on a stretcher, Turkish
The pockets of jubilation were tempered by
many more discoveries of bodies by thousands of aid workers in the
worst-hit city of Ercis and other communities in eastern Turkey struck
by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake. Some 2,000 buildings collapsed, but the
fact that the tremor hit in daytime, when many people were out of their
homes, averted an even worse disaster.
Close to 500 aftershocks
have since rattled the area, according to Turkey’s Kandilli seismology
centre, and a moderately strong one measuring 5.4-magnitude sent
residents rushing into the streets in panic Tuesday.
still no power or running water and aid distribution was disrupted as
people stopped trucks even before they entered Ercis, grabbing tents and
other supplies. Kanal D television showed people fighting over tents
and blankets in some areas.
Aid workers said they were able to
find emergency housing for only about half the thousands of people who
needed it. Most of the damage was in Ercis, but many buildings were also
damaged in the provincial capital, Van, about 55 miles (90 kilometres)
to the south.
Authorities have warned survivors in the mainly
Kurdish area not to enter damaged buildings and thousands were preparing
to spend a third night outdoors, in cars or tents. Temperatures at
night have been close to freezing.
Some 1,300 people were injured
in the quake. At least nine people were rescued on Tuesday, although
many more bodies were discovered.