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2 girls rescued in Turkey as death toll from Friday’s quake rises to 93

Rescue workers carry 14-year-old Idil Sirin out from the rubble of a collapsed building early Monday.
Rescue workers carry 14-year-old Idil Sirin out from the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey, early Monday, three days after a strong earthquake hit the area.
(IHA)

Rescue workers dug two girls out alive Monday from the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings in Turkey three days after the region was jolted by an earthquake that killed scores of people.

Onlookers applauded in joy and wept with relief as ambulances took the girls to the hospital immediately after their rescues in the hard-hit coastal city of Izmir. The death toll in Friday’s quake reached 93 on Monday after teams found more bodies amid toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city.

Rescue teams Monday brought out two girls alive from the wreck of their collapsed apartment buildings in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, three days after a strong earthquake centered in the Aegean Sea hit Turkey and Greece.

Close to 1,000 people were injured in the quake, which was centered northeast of the Greek island of Samos. It killed two teenagers on Samos and injured at least 19 other people on the island.

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Rescue workers clapped as 14-year-old Idil Sirin was removed from the rubble after being trapped for about 58 hours. Her 8-year-old sister, Ipek, did not survive, NTV television reported.

Seven hours later, rescuers extricated 3-year-old Elif Perincek, whose mother and two sisters had been rescued two days earlier, from another toppled building. The child spent 65 hours in the wreckage of her apartment and became the 106th person to be rescued alive, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Rescue workers have extricated a man from a collapsed building in western Turkey, 34 hours after a strong earthquake struck Turkey and Greece.

Muammer Celik of Istanbul’s search-and-rescue team told NTV television that he thought Elif was dead when he reached her amid the wreckage.

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“There was dust on her face — her face was white,” he said. “When I cleaned the dust from her face, she opened her eyes. I was astonished.”

Celik said: “It was a miracle. It was a true miracle.”

The girl would not let go of his hand throughout the rescue operation, Celik said, adding: “I am now her big brother.”

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Rescue workers scrambling to find more survivors used listening devices to detect more signs of life.

“Can anyone hear me?” a team leader shouted, asking possible survivors to bang against surfaces three times if they could.

Officials said 220 quake survivors were still being treated in hospitals and four of them were in serious condition.

There remains some debate over the magnitude of the earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey rated it 7.0, while Istanbul’s Kandilli Institute put it at 6.9 and Turkey’s emergency management agency said it measured 6.6.

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The quake triggered a small tsunami that hit Samos and the Seferihisar district of Izmir, drowning one older woman. Tremors were felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul, as well as in the Greek capital of Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

Turkey has a mix of older buildings and structures of cheap or illegal construction. Regulations have been tightened to strengthen or demolish buildings, and urban renewal is underway in Turkish cities, but it is not happening fast enough.

Turkey sits on top of fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece as well.


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