Rescuers find five members of single family alive in rubble days after quake

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Rescue teams in Turkey have pulled five members of a single family alive from the wreckage of their home, 129 hours after a powerful earthquake struck the region.

Rescuers first extricated mother and daughter Havva and Fatmagul Aslan from a mound of debris in the hard-hit town of Nurdag, in Gaziantep province, HaberTurk reported.

Hasan was brought out last. Rescuers cheered and chanted “God is Great!” as the man was transported into an ambulance.

The dramatic rescue after 129 hours brings to nine the number of people rescued Saturday, despite diminishing hopes amid freezing temperatures. They included a disoriented 16-year-old and a 70-year-old woman.

Quake graphic
(PA Graphics)

Members of the mixed Turkish and Kyrgyz search teams embraced each other, as did the teenager’s cousins, with one of them calling out: “He is out, brother. He is out. He is here.”

The rescues brought joy amid overwhelming devastation days after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake destroyed thousands of buildings, killing more than 25,000 people, injuring another 80,000 and leaving millions homeless.

Another quake nearly equal in power and likely triggered by the first caused more destruction hours later.

Turkish rescue workers carry Ergin Guzeloglan, 36, to an ambulance after pulled him out from a collapsed building five days after an earthquake in Hatay, southern Turkey (Can Ozer/AP)

Even though experts say trapped people can live for a week or more, the odds of finding more survivors were quickly waning. Rescuers were shifting to thermal cameras to help identify life amid the rubble, a sign of the weakness of any remaining survivors.

As aid continued to arrive, a 99-member group from the Indian Army’s medical assistance team began treating the injured in a temporary field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was demolished.

One man, Sukru Canbulat, was wheeled into the hospital, his left leg badly injured with deep bruising, contusions and lacerations.

Men walk among the debris of collapsed buildings in Hatay, southern Turkey (Can Ozer/AP)

Hospitals in Antakya, he said, were overburdened, and he had come to the field hospital to finally address his injuries.

″I buried (everyone that I lost), then I came here,’’ Mr Canbulat said, counting his dead relatives: “My daughter is dead, my sibling died, my aunt and her daughter died, and the wife of her son” who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant.

Temperatures remained below freezing across the large region, and many people have no shelter. The Turkish government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many people in need.

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