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Baby rescued 2 days after Turkey quake

10-26-2011 08:28 BJT Special Report:Turkey Hit by 7.2-Magnitude Earthquake |

ERCIS, Turkey - Rescuers pulled a two-week-old baby girl alive from the arms of her mother buried under a collapsed building on Tuesday as a search continued for survivors from a quake in eastern Turkey that killed at least 366 people and left thousands homeless.

Rescue workers carry a baby from a collapsed building in Ercis, near the eastern Turkish city of Van, October 25, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

Hope of finding people alive under tons of rubble was fading with every passing hour as rescuers pulled out more bodies and thousands of residents slept for a second night in crowded tents or huddled around fires and in cars across a region rattled by aftershocks in Van province.

Quake rescue efforts focused on Ercis, a town of 100,000 that was worst hit, and the provincial capital Van, which has a population of one million.

Emergency workers extracted the infant girl alive from the wreckage on Tuesday, two days after it was buried with its mother under an apartment block.

The mother was clutching the child to her chest when the were reached by rescuers, who set about rescuing the mother and a grandmother who were also still alive.

"We're going to get them out soon," a rescuer assured the other grandmother, whose eyes brimmed with tears of joy over the survival of her grandchild.

Elsewhere, exhausted workers used machinery, jackhammers, shovels, pick axes and bare hands to comb through rubble. Every so often, they would shout for silence and generators and diggers would stop, straining to hear voices under the wreckage. Seconds later the drone of the machinery would start again.

Officials said 12,000 more tents would reach Van on Tuesday after complaints that entire families were cramming into tents and television images showed desperate men pushing each other roughly to grab tents from the back of a Red Crescent truck.

The Turkish Red Crescent has said it was preparing temporary shelter for about 40,000 people, although there were no reliable figures for the homeless. Many residents spent the night outside fearing any return to their damaged homes.


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