Rescuers ran against the clock on Saturday to rescue those trapped under rubble in Turkey and Greece, as mourners buried the first victims of a powerful earthquake that killed 37 people.
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Friday afternoon near the town of Sephysar on the west coast of Izmir province, Turkey, killing 35 people and injuring around 900.
Two teenagers were also killed on their way home from school in Greece, causing a mini tsunami and sea swell on the Aegean island of Samos, which turned rivers into riparian rivers in a Turkish coastal town.
Turkish authorities have recorded around 600 aftershocks, including dozens of magnitudes greater than more than 4.0, making it difficult to find those still breathing under mountains of concrete debris. Has been.
In Bakerli, near the worst-hit Turkish resort of Izmir, families and friends watched in anguish, exhaustion and hope as workers laboriously lifted slabs of flattened apartment buildings.
Tears of joy, relief and joy greet each healed survivor. Marks of pain with bodies holding black bags caught in the disaster area.
“Let me see who it is!” A man shouted.
In lush green spaces near damaged buildings, tents are pitched for frightened families to spend the night.
“It was so cold last night,” said Nilgun Yikariz, 59, who was sleeping on the grass in a small tent outside his destroyed apartment.
Nearby, Aziz Akkoyun identified parts of her family’s ruined apartment as she awaited news of her missing relatives.
“These curtains, they belonged to my daughter’s in-laws,” Akoyeun told AFP. “God willing, they’ll come out alive.”
‘Risk of aftershocks’
It was hoped that more survivors could be found following reports in Turkish media that a mother and her three children were rescued 23 hours after the disaster.
According to media reports, the 53-year-old and 62-year-old were also taken away alive hours after the earthquake.
AFAD, the government disaster agency, said 100 people had been rescued.
But the wait was agonizing, and the recovery work was slowly slowing down, left by long stumbling blocks, rescue teams – often on their knees with their heads wide open – listening for signs of life were.
As his family moves into his white tent, Semletin Enginert, 51, feels “helpless”.
The retired soldier said his family’s home had “serious” cracks and feared people could tell if it was worth returning home.
“As it stands and with the risk of aftershocks, we decided the solution was to stay away.”
The latest earthquake will renew fears of a major earthquake in Izmit, western Turkey, after the devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 1999.
Then 17,000 people, of whom 1,000 were killed in Istanbul.
It is the second powerful earthquake to hit Turkey this year, killing more than 30 people, one after another in the eastern city of Yazig.
Has been felt as far away as Athens and Istanbul.
On the Greek island of Samos, home to 45,000 people and a large expatriate camp, the civil security agency described the situation as “extremely difficult”.
“Churches, ports and houses will be rebuilt. With the help of God and of men, ”said priest Emmanouil, whose church in the island village of Pythagorio was damaged. “But lost souls do not return.”
“All of Greece is in mourning,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis, who called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express his support, breaking the long-standing cold in relations with Turkey.
Erdogan was due to travel to Izmir later on Saturday, encouraging families and saying Turkish authorities have not given up hope.
But there was a sense of crisis in the coastal province with large cracks and broken plaster buildings that looked like they could collapse in any way.
In downtown Berklee, families cried and prayed at the first funeral for earthquake victims.
“I can’t cry anymore. Look, I’m not crying, ”a woman shouted. “Mother, when will I see you again?”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV employees and posted from a syndicated feed.)