BAREFOOT AND BRUISED
There were still some signs of hope. Turkish footage late on Wednesday showed a few more survivors being rescued, including Abdulalim Muaini, who was pulled from his collapsed home in Hatay, where he had remained since Monday next to his dead wife.
Rescue workers dug out a 60-year-old woman named Meral Nakir from the rubble of an apartment block in Malatya, 77 hours after the first quake struck, state broadcaster TRT showed in live coverage.
Barefoot and her faced bruised, Nakir was wrapped in a blanket and carried to a waiting ambulance.
A two-year-old boy was picked out of the rubble by a Romanian and Polish rescue team in Hatay 79 hours after the quake, video released by Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) on Thursday showed. The boy, wearing a striped sweater, cried as he was gently lifted from the hole where he had been trapped.
Many in Turkey have complained of a lack of equipment, expertise and support to rescue those trapped – sometimes even as they could hear cries for help.
Further slowing the relief effort, the main road into Antakya was clogged with traffic as residents sought to leave the disaster zone and aid trucks headed in.
After facing criticism over the initial response, Erdogan said on a visit to the area on Wednesday operations were now working normally and promised no one would be left homeless.
Nevertheless, the disaster will pose an additional challenge to the long-ruling president in the election.
One official told Reuters it was too early to make any decision on elections, noting that a three-month state of emergency had been announced and that some 15% of Turkey’s population lived in the affected area.
“We will look at developments but at the moment there are very serious difficulties in holding an election on May 14,” he said.