Search for quake survivors continues
Updated: 2011-10-26 07:40
ERCIS, Turkey - Rescuers pulled a 2-week-old baby girl alive from the arms of her mother buried under a collapsed building on Tuesday as a search continued for survivors from a quake in eastern Turkey that killed at least 432 people and left thousands homeless.
Hope of finding people alive under tons of rubble was fading with every passing hour as rescuers pulled out more bodies and thousands of residents slept for a second night in crowded tents or huddled around fire and in cars across a region rattled by aftershocks in Van province, near the Iranian border.
With victims accusing the central government of being slow in delivering aid to a region inhabited mostly by minority Kurds, Ankara said it was sending more tents and blankets.
"We have no tents, everybody is living outdoors. Van has collapsed psychologically, life has stopped. Tens of thousands are on the streets. Everybody is in panic," Kemal Balci, a construction worker, said as he awaited news on friends injured in the quake at a hospital in the city of Van.
"Aid has been arriving late. Van has been reduced to zero. We have no jobs, no bread, no water and there are nine members in my family. If the government doesn't give a hand to Van it will be like Afghanistan. Van has been pushed back 100 years."
The 7.2-magnitude quake, Turkey's most powerful in a decade, is one more affliction for Kurds, the dominant ethnic group in impoverished southeast Turkey, where more than 40,000 people have been killed in a three-decade-long separatist insurgency.
On Monday, Turkish tanks and armored vehicles crossed into northern Iraq headed in the direction of a Kurdish militant camp as part of cross-border operations in the wake of an attack last week by Kurdistan Workers Party fighters that killed 24 Turkish soldiers.