As the freezing temperatures worsened on Thursday, the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria brought increased suffering to the survivors, who number more than 16,000 dead. Despite the challenging conditions, rescue teams continued their tireless efforts to reach and save those who are still trapped beneath the rubble.
As the rescue operations progress beyond the 72-hour window, which disaster experts consider to be the most crucial for saving lives, the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred on Monday is expected to escalate significantly.
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On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged “flaws” in his government’s reaction to the earthquake, one of the most destructive of this century.
Survivors are in dire straits, struggling to find food and shelter, and in some tragic cases, being forced to witness the pleas of their family members for help, only to eventually hear nothing but silence coming from beneath the rubble.
Semire Coban, a kindergarten teacher in Turkey’s Hatay province, sadly reported that her nephew and sisters-in-law were trapped under the ruins of a collapsed building, with no signs of life.
She said that they had been unable to make contact with them, despite trying to communicate and that they were still waiting for assistance after 48 hours had passed. Even as the death toll kept increasing, rescuers kept finding survivors in the debris.