SANLIURFA: In a race against time to identify survivors under buildings destroyed by an earthquake that claimed more than 7,800 lives, rescuers in Turkey and Syria faced a bitter cold on Tuesday.
Tremors added to the hardship in a border region already besieged by warfare, leaving residents on the streets burning rubbish to stay warm as humanitarian help began to arrive.
However, some miraculous survival stories have emerged, including a newborn infant retrieved alive from rubble in Syria, still connected to her mother, who died in Monday’s earthquake, via her umbilical cord.
The newborn is the solitary survivor of her immediate family, the rest of whom were slaughtered in Jindayris, a rebel-held town.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck as people were sleeping on Monday, demolishing thousands of structures, trapping an unknown number of people, and potentially affecting millions.
Whole rows of buildings fell, causing some of the most severe devastations around the epicenter of the earthquake between the Turkish cities of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras. Because of the devastation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in ten southeastern districts on Tuesday.