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25 Oct, 2011 10:43

Turkey miracle: 2-week-old baby pulled alive from rubble

A two-week-old baby was rescued from underneath the debris of an apartment building in Turkey that was destroyed by the 7.0 magnitude quake, reports Reuters. Azra Karaduman is 14-days-old and had been born one month prematurely.

A little later, the mother and the grandmother of the lucky survivor were also pulled from the rubble.Another child, a 10 year old, was found alive under the debris more than 54 hours after the devastating quake shook the city of Van, the BBC reported, citing Turkish TV. In another part of the city, 9-year-old Oguz Isler was trapped for eight hours beneath the ruins of his home. Since being saved, Oguz has been waiting at the foot of the same pile of debris for news of his parents and other relatives, who are still buried inside.

There was an emotional family reunion when a mother burst into tears as her 20-year-old son was carried alive from a collapsed Internet café. Two hours later, another survivor was dug out and sent to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment. Figen Uzen, a survivor from Van, was at home alone when the quake struck, reports AP."When I failed to escape, I held onto the walls but I was not successful in that either and I fell down. That was frightening because all the furniture seemed to be falling on top of me," she said.So far, some 23 survivors have been rescued in the devastated town of Ercis in Turkey’s eastern Van province. In central Ercis, several buildings collapsed scattering broken glass and other debris over a wide radius. Bereaved relatives faced the grim task of identifying their loved ones among rows of body bags laid outside Ercis mosque.Later on Tuesday a seven-storey building collapsed. As rescue teams battle to save trapped survivors, reports are emerging of voices coming from beneath the rubble.

Jailbreak: some escape, some return

Gunshots have been heard at the local prison in the city of Van as prisoners set fire to the jail and fought with guards on Tuesday, Reuters reported. This comes only two days after a massive jailbreak when 200 inmates reportedly escaped in the chaos after the disastrous earthquake.Prisoners attacked guards with scissors and knives. A municipal official, who declined to be named, said inmates set fire to the jail, the news agency reported. However, several inmates at the quake-hit prison returned after making sure their families were all right, the NTN24 television network reported Tuesday, citing local agencies. Fifty of the 200 inmates who escaped returned to prison after they met their family members and were sure they were safe. The collapsed wall of the jail has not yet been repaired, meaning only a chain of soldiers can keep the situation under control. Security has been tightened in the area, the NTN24 reported.

Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault-lines.March 2010 – at least 38 people died and dozens of others were injured after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Elazig province. August 1999 – two powerful earthquakes measuring 6.7 and 7.4 on the Richter scale respectively, hit northwestern and western Turkey, killing about 18,000 people and affecting hundreds of thousands.November 1976 – a major earthquake hit Van province with 5, 291 confirmed dead.

Hope ebbs away for Turkey quake survivors

The latest reports confirm 432 people dead, with over 1,300 injured in the wake of the earthquake. The prime minister's office on Tuesday said that more than 2,000 buildings had collapsed. Worst-hit was Ercis, an eastern city close to the Iranian border where about 80 multi-storey buildings were destroyed.Thousands of people made homeless by the quake are sleeping outside, with temperatures forecast to plunge below zero and snowfall expected. People are afraid to return to their homes and rescuers fear that those who are still trapped beneath the debris have only a slim chance of surviving the night.More than 2,000 rescue workers from 44 Turkish provinces and a dozen sniffer dogs were involved in search-and-rescue efforts, but more often than not they unearthed dead bodies rather than survivors. Cranes and other heavy equipment lifted slabs of concrete, allowing residents to dig for the missing with shovels. Search efforts were hampered by over 200 aftershocks that rocked the Van province. One aftershock on Monday hit a magnitude of 5.0.