Turkey earthquake: Deaths rise to 523 in Van and Ercis

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Turkey earthquake: Deaths rise to 523 in Van and Ercis

Post by foxypro9x on Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:50 am

Many are living in harsh conditions and temporary shelters
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The number of people known to have been killed in Sunday's earthquake in Turkey's south-east has risen to 523.

Officials say 1,650 people were injured in the 7.2-magnitude quake which had its epicentre in Van province. So far, 185 people have been rescued alive.

Rain and snow are hindering the rescue and relief effort.

Latest reports say a man has been rescued from a collapsed building in the town of Ercis, more than 100 hours after the earthquake struck.

The young man was pulled alive from a flattened apartment block by a search team early on Thursday evening.

He was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Aid delivered
Hundreds of people are still believed to be missing under the rubble.

Rescuers in some places are continuing to dig through the debris, but at other sites they have stopped work and attention is turning to the needs of the survivors.

Tents and other aid supplies are being delivered after some initial criticism that the response was too slow.

People in Ercis, which was the hardest-hit town, have formed long queues to try to get hold of tents but many have been told there are none left.

"Everyone is getting sick and wet," said Fetih Zengin, a 38-year-old whose house was badly damaged.


Rescue efforts are continuing in the worst hit town, Ercis, but have ended in the city of Van
"We have been waiting in line for four days and still nothing," he told the Reuters news agency.

"We slept under a piece of plastic erected on some wooden boards we found. We have 10 children in our family."

Another survivor, Zeki Yatkin, lost his father in the quake.

"They say we will get prefabricated houses in one-and-a-half months," he said, in an interview with Reuters.

"We can't tolerate the cold, but what else can we do?"

Gripped by fear
Some survivors have accused Turkey's governing AK party of handing out aid preferentially to the families of public servants and policemen, ignoring ordinary people.

The governor of Van province, Munir Karaloglu, has denied this.

He says 20,000 tents have already been distributed and he blamed fear for exacerbating the problems.

"Because of the psychology and the aftershocks, they don't use their undamaged house and ask for a tent" he said.

"This is why we have a problem."

South-eastern Turkey was hit by another strong aftershock on Thursday of magnitude 5.2, but there are no reports of any further casualties.

Seismologists say the epicentre was located near the border between Turkey and Iraq, south of Van province.

The Turkish government had initially said it did not need any help from abroad, but later changed its mind.

Ankara accepted an offer of clothes, blankets and other supplies from Israel, despite the recent deterioration in their relationship.

Reports say prefabricated homes from Israel are currently on their way to Van province.

"Three more planes loaded with aid supplies will come to Turkey within two days," an official from the Israeli embassy in Ankara told the Anatolia news agency.

Aid from several other countries is starting to arrive in Turkey too.

The United Nations says it is sending thousands of tents as well as blankets and mattresses.


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