Rescuers have been digging through the debris in southeastern Adiyaman province, trying to free a young woman, and similar operations are under way in other hard-hit provinces to find possible survivors of twin quakes that hit parts of Türkiye and neighbouring Syria, leaving behind more than 41,000 dead and a trail of destruction.
It’s now the tenth day of the 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes and some 8,000 people have already been pulled alive from the debris of the flattened buildings while rescuers say they’re still hearing voices in the rubble, and are continuing to find survivors.
One such operation was under way in southeastern Adiyaman province early on Wednesday, according to TRT World’s Jaffar Hasnain, who said the first responders have received a signal of a 20-year-old woman from under the rubble.
“They are still receiving the signals that the female is alive. They are basing their judgment on her body temperatures using thermal devices… there is hope,” Hasnain said.
Despite the vast destruction, search and rescue efforts are continuing in Hatay, Kahramanmaras and other provinces as well despite dim hopes of finding survivors.
The ongoing search operations come a day after rescue workers in Adiyaman pulled Fatma Gungor, a 77-year-old woman, from beneath the debris, some 212 hours after the quakes.
“I’m so excited, I don’t know what to say. We almost got to the point of giving up,” a rescuer at the site told local media and public broadcaster TRT Haber, which has been broadcasting visuals of the rescue missions since last week.
“We didn’t even eat. Thank God it has ended well. I thank both Kocaeli Golcuk Shipyard [personnel] and AFAD [rescue team]. So glad we have you.”
A father and his daughter were rescued some 209 hours after the tragedy in hard-hit Hatay province.
Ramazan Yucel, 45, was rescued from the rubble 207 hours after the earthquake in Adiyaman.
In Hatay, a married couple were freed from the rubble of a destroyed apartment building. One of them is reported to be a foreign national.
Elsewhere in Adiyaman, 18-year-old Muhammed Cafer Cetin was found alive. Rescuers said the first thing he asked for was water and a hot meal.
And, also on the ninth day of being trapped, two brothers were rescued from the ruins of their apartment in Kahramanmaras, the epicentre of the quakes. One of them is a teenager, Muhammed Enes. His brother Baki Yeninar is 21.
‘Ses yok [no sound]’
Stories of such rescues have flooded the airwaves in recent days.
But tens of thousands of dead have been found during the same period, and experts say the window for rescues has nearly closed, given the length of time that has passed, the fact that temperatures have fallen to minus 6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit) and the severity of the building collapses.
Rescuers are braving cold and ceaseless aftershocks when they burrow their way into the rubble in search for signs of life.
In some areas, searchers placed signs that read “ses yok,” or “no sound,” in front of buildings they had inspected for any sign that someone was alive inside, HaberTurk television reported.
Volunteers from across Türkiye have mobilised to help millions of survivors, including a group of chefs and restaurant owners who served traditional food such as beans and rice and lentil soup to survivors who lined up in the streets of downtown Adiyaman.