Turkish earthquake rescue efforts go on as the death toll rises

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Rescue teams in eastern Turkey continued to pull survivors from collapsed buildings on Sunday, more than a day and a half after a powerful earthquake hit the country’s east, killing at least 35 people.

The magnitude 6.8 quake injured 1,556 people and 45 people have been pulled from the rubble so far, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

As overnight temperatures dropped to minus five C (23F), emergency teams set up more than 9,500 tents for displaced residents and distributed some 17,000 hot meals.

People gather around fires
People gather around fires after their houses in Elazig, eastern Turkey, were destroyed by the earthquake (Ugur Can/DHA via AP/PA)

Rescue teams concentrated their efforts in the Mustafa Pasa area of the city of Elazig and the nearby town of Sivrice, the closest residential area to the epicentre of Friday night’s quake.

Turkish television showed Ayse Yildiz, 35, and her two-year-old daughter Yusra being saved from a collapsed apartment building in the Mustafa Pasa district. They had been trapped for 28 hours after the earthquake struck.

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Nearly 600 aftershocks rocked the region as rescue teams worked. A magnitude 4.3 quake hit Puturge district in the neighbouring Malatya province on Sunday morning, AFAD said.

ANF News reported that

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HD) deputies Ayşe Acar Başaran, Şevin Coşkun, Erdal Aydemir and deputy co-chair of Local Administrations Salim Kaplan visited the earthquake victims in Elazığ.

The delegation visited the places where the people found shelter after the earthquake.

The HDP delegation informed the public that the 27 municipalities they visited were ready to support them and that they have started working to meet the needs of the victims.

The HDP delegation will visit the families of those living in the city who have lost someone or have wounded relatives in hospitals.

Friday’s main quake hit at 8.55pm local time (5.55pm GMT). Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which sits atop two major fault lines. A pair of strong earthquakes struck northwest Turkey in 1999, killing around 18,000 people.

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