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Turkey-Syria quake: Recovery 'could take over a generation'

Turkey-Syria earthquake: Death toll crosses 35,000, recovery 'could take over a generation'
6 min read
13 February, 2023
The desperate hunt for survivors continues in Turkey and Syria as rights groups warn it could take 'a generation' to completely heal from the devastation.

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More than 35,000 people have been killed in the devastating earthquake across Turkey and Syria, as aid group World Vision has warned that full recovery could take more than a 'generation'. 

Rescue crews on Monday pulled a 40-year-old woman from the wreckage of a building a week after two powerful earthquakes struck, but reports of rescues are coming less often as the time since the quake reaches the limits of the human body's ability to survive without water, especially in sub-freezing temperatures.

The magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 quakes struck nine hours apart in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on 6 February.

Officials and medics said 31,643 people had died in Turkey and 3,581 in Syria from last Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the confirmed total to 35,224.

The toll is expected to rise considerably as search teams find more bodies, and reduced much of towns and cities inhabited by millions to fragments of concrete and twisted metal.

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On Monday rescuers pulled a 40-year-old woman from the wreckage of a 5-story building in the town of Islahiye, in Gaziantep province. The woman, Sibel Kaya, was rescued after spending 170 hours beneath the rubble by a mixed crew that included members of Turkey’s coalmine rescue team.

Earlier, a 60-year-woman, Erengul Onder, was also pulled out from the rubble in the town of Besni, in Adiyaman province, by teams from the western city of Manisa.

"We received the news of a miracle from Besni which helped put the fire raging in our hearts a little," wrote Manisa’s mayor Cengiz Ergun on Twitter.

Experts however are warning that the likelihood of finding more people alive in the rubble was extremely low, a week since the earthquake struck the region.