Turkey-Syria earthquake: More victims rescued on the 9th day as the death toll crosses 41,000


Feb 15, 2023

Eight days after a deadly earthquake struck Syria and Turkey, the death toll in both countries has surpassed 41,000. The Turkish government said at least 35,418 persons have died on its side while more than 5,800 have been killed in Syria. 

Rescuers in the city of Kahramanmaras and other places hit hard by the quake are still bringing out bodies as of Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, they are mostly dead bodies which signal the end of the rescue operations and the beginning of a recovery operation. Thankfully, a few living souls are being pulled out of the ruins, even as of Tuesday evening. 

Being alive after 222 hours

Victims rescued 40 hours after the earthquake have been described as miracle survivors. However, if the miracle survivors are measured by the duration of time, none surpasses Melike Imamoglu at the moment. The 42-year-old woman was pulled out of the ruins on Wednesday morning after 222 hours.

She was rescued in the city of Kahramanmaras, close to the epicentre of the earthquake. She was rushed to the hospital soon after her rescue. 

Ten hours before the miraculous rescue, Fatma Gungor was pulled out of the ruins alive, 212 hours after the earthquake. 

According to Anadolu news agency, a 77-year-old woman was pulled from the ruins in the Turkish city of Adiyaman. She pulled out from the rubble of a 7-storey block in the city. Upon being pulled out, Gungor was quickly taken to a waiting ambulance. The excited family members of Gungor could only hug and thank the personnel involved in the operation, including military officials and members of AFAD, the Turkish disaster management authority.

Gungor was not the only one pulled out of the rubble alive on Tuesday. At least nine others were rescued after spending eight days in the ruins. The Turkish news agency, Anadolu, reported the rescue of 17-year-old Muhammed Enes Yeninar and his older brother, 21-year-old Baki Yeninar. They were rescued in the city of Kahramanmaras. Another woman was rescued in the same city on Tuesday.

In the Hatay province, two women other were also rescued on Tuesday according to Turkish media. ​

No one is helping us, Syrians cry out

Survivors of the deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake do not have what it takes to survive on their own. They depend mainly on aid and supplies from others to live. While Turkey and the Southern part of Syria seem to be satisfied with the level of assistance, the people in the Northwest of Syria are unhappy with the amount of aid they have received. They believe it is either too late or too little.

“We are vegetable sellers, our shops were underneath our homes, and now we lost everything,” Alan Ahmed, a resident of Jindires, held by rebels, told Aljazeera. “We are sleeping in the streets. No one from the international community is helping us.”

Nizar Al Mared, another survivor, said: “We have no heaters, no blankets, nothing. Just a tent over our heads. Our shops were destroyed. Who will help us rebuild our lives?”

Although it was the same earthquake that struck parts of Turkey and Syria, the situation was not the same on the two sides. Rescue operations ended in Northwest Syria five days after the disaster because they did not have what it takes to save more lives. However, in Turkey rescue operations have entered day 9. The United Nations said it has moved some supplies into Northwest Syria, but the call for more supplies means whatever was supplied was insufficient.


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