Workers hunt for quake survivors

Digging continues as death toll of 7.2-magnitude quake rises to over 200

Rescue workers in Turkey continued to hunt for people trapped amid the rubble of collapsed buildings yesterday as the death toll from Sunday's powerful earthquake rose to at least 264.

As aftershocks rocked the region, some 100 others were feared dead and more than 1,000 were wounded after the most powerful quake in a decade struck the southeastern part of the country.

Against all odds: Turkish men risk their own lives and try to save
another man who is trapped under mountains of rubble.

Search teams clawed through piles of debris, and in some cases, the cries of survivors buried alive beneath the ground could be heard.

"Be patient, be patient," rescuers told a boy who was trapped under a slab of concrete, with the hand of a lifeless adult visible in front of his face.

Another survivor, Yalcin Akay, was dug from a collapsed six-storey building after he used his cell phone to call police.

Witnesses and others who managed to remain uninjured sit atop a
damaged roof of a house. Officials say almost 1,000 buildings have
been damaged owing to the quake. pics/afp

The 7.2-magnitude quake struck on Sunday and lasted for 25 thunderous seconds, reducing vast sections of the city of Van and town of Ercis to a wasteland of debris.

The mainly Kurdish area also suffered more than 200 aftershocks between Sunday and last morning, causing further panic in the devastated region.

"I just felt the whole earth moving and I was petrified. It went on for ages. And the noise, you could hear this loud, loud noise," said Hakan Demirtas, a resident.

Aid teams handed out food and blankets to the homeless, who spent a cold night huddling around camp fires in the streets.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan arrived in the area to see the damage first-hand, and Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the death toll was not expected to be as high as initially feared.

Fiance saves woman buried in rubble
A fiance saved his 25-year-old love Gul Karacoban from being left to die under the rubble of a restaurant she was eating at when the earthquake struck. Brought out alive yesterday, after 18 hours pinned under a mound of concrete, she was stretchered into an ambulance.

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