Illustrative photo – Rescue workers search through the rubble of buildings destroyed by an earthquake in the Turkish city of Hatay, February 11, 2023.
Ankara – A week after the devastating earthquake that claimed more than 33,000 lives in southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, rescuers today managed to free another woman alive from the rubble. This is reported by the AP agency. However, according to experts, the hope of finding survivors is very small, even in view of the freezing temperatures, which drop to minus six degrees Celsius at night. A number of people left homeless by last Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremors are still homeless, AP reported.
Photo gallery: Earthquake in Turkey and Syria
A 40-year-old woman was rescued today after 170 hours in the ruins of a five-story building in the city of Islahiye in Gaziantep province. Several survivors were also found in the wreckage over the weekend, including a 60-year-old woman in the city of Besni in Adiyaman province, and a seven-month-old child and a 12-year-old girl in Hatay province.
According to experts quoted by the AP agency, there is now very little hope of finding survivors. Eduardo Reinoso of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) believes that after nine days it will be almost zero. David Alexander from University College London (UCL) has the same opinion. According to him, the collapsed buildings in the area were so poorly constructed that they crumbled into very small pieces, reducing the likelihood of creating air pockets for possible survival. The Turkish authorities are already investigating over 130 people for violating building standards.
Frozen temperatures are also reducing the hope of survival in the ruins in the south of Turkey. “The body's typical response to hypothermia is shivering and that requires calories. But if a person does not have food for several days and is exposed to low temperatures, he succumbs to hypothermia faster,” said Stephanie Lareau from the University of Virginia in the US.
Syrian authorities and so far, non-governmental organizations report fewer dead than Turkey, about 4,300. In Syria, however, the search for survivors and victims is more complicated, as the earthquake also affected an area controlled by the rebels. UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths, who visited the Turkey-Syria border at the weekend, said the international community had failed to help people in northwest Syria. “People in northwestern Syria rightly feel abandoned, it is my duty to rectify this failure as soon as possible,” Griffiths was quoted as saying by the AP agency.