Turkey earthquake: Two-week-old baby rescued from quake rubble
Turkey earthquake: Television footage showed rescuers in orange jumpsuits applauding as the baby, Azra Karaduman, was removed from the wreckage.
ERCIS, Turkey — A 2-week-old baby girl and her mother were pulled alive from the rubble of an apartment building on Tuesday in a dramatic rescue, nearly 48 hours after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake toppled some 2,000 buildings in eastern Turkey.
Television footage showed rescuers in orange jumpsuits applauding as the baby, Azra Karaduman, was removed from the wreckage. A rescuer cradled the naked infant, who was wrapped in a blanket and handed over to a medic.
Hours later, the baby's mother, Semiha, was pulled from the flattened building, where she had been pinned next to a sofa, and rushed to an ambulance. The father was also in the rubble, but it was unclear if he survived.
Rescuers in Ercis, the hardest-hit city, and the provincial capital, Van, were racing to free dozens of people trapped inside mounds of concrete, twisted steel and construction debris. Authorities have warned survivors of the quake that killed at least 370 people not to enter damaged buildings and thousands spent a second night outdoors in cars or tents in near-freezing conditions, afraid to return to their homes. Some 1,300 people were injured.
At least seven people were pulled from the rubble alive on Tuesday, although many more bodies were discovered.
Nine-year-old Oguz Isler was trapped for eight hours beneath a relative's home in Ercis. He was finally rescued, but on Tuesday he was waiting at the foot of the same pile of debris for news of his parents and of other relatives who remain buried inside.
The boy waited calmly in front of what was left of the five-story apartment block that used to be his aunt's home. The city of 75,000, close to the Iranian border, lies in one of Turkey's most earthquake-prone zones.
Turkish rescue workers in bright orange overalls and Azerbaijani military rescuers in camouflage uniforms searched through the debris, using excavators, picks and shovels to look for Oguz's mother and father and other relatives still inside.
Dogs sniffed for possible survivors in gaps that opened up as their work progressed.
"They should send more people," Oguz said as he and other family members watched the rescuers. An elder cousin comforted him.
Mehmet Ali Hekimoglu, a medic, said the dogs indicated that there were three or four people inside the building, but it was not known if they were alive.
The boy, his sister and a cousin were trapped in the building's third-floor stairway as they tried to escape when the quake hit. A steel door fell over him.
"I fell on the ground face down. When I tried to move my head, it hit the door," he said. "I tried to get out and was able to open a gap with my fists in the wall but could not move my body further. The wall crumbled quickly when I hit it."
"We started shouting: 'Help! We're here,'" he said. "They found us a few hours later, they took me out about 8 1/2 hours later. ... I was OK but felt very bad, lonely. ... I still have a headache, but the doctor said I was fine."
Oguz's 16-year-old sister, Ela, and 12-year-old cousin, Irem were also saved.
"They took me out last because I was in good shape and the door was protecting me. I was hearing stones falling on it," the boy said.
The government's response to the quake appeared to be well-coordinated because of the country's vast experience in dealing with killer quakes and their aftermaths. Hundreds of rescue teams from throughoutTurkey rushed to the area, while Turkish Red Crescent dispatched tents and blankets and set up soup kitchens.
But there was still no power or running water and aid distribution was at times disrupted as desperate people stopped trucks even before they entered Ercis, leading some residents to complain that they could not get tents and stoves for their families. The Milliyet newspaper on Tuesday reported fistfights in front of some aid trucks.
"The aid is coming in but we're not getting it. We need more police, soldiers," resident Baran Gungor said. "People from nearby towns and villages stop the aid trucks on the road and loot tents and stoves."
Hundreds of tents were erected in two stadiums but many preferred to stay close to their homes for news of the missing or to keep watch on damaged buildings.
The government said it would set up temporary homes and would begin planning to rebuild destroyed areas with better housing. Turks across the country began sending blankets and warm clothing.
The earthquake's epicenter was the village of Tabanli but damage there was minimal; No deaths were reported and its mud-brick homes were relatively unharmed.
Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people.
Istanbul, the country's largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line, and experts say tens of thousands could be killed if a major quake struck there.