World February 9, 2023 | 8:00 am

New rescues in Turkey and Syria after the earthquake; death toll exceeds 15,000

Rescue teams in Turkey and Syria continued to race against the clock on Wednesday to save survivors trapped in the rubble of Monday’s powerful earthquake, which has killed more than 15,000 people. For two days and two nights since the 7.8 quake, thousands of first responders worked in freezing temperatures to find survivors under collapsed buildings on both sides of the border. The head of the Turkish Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, warned that the first 72 hours were critical in the rescue efforts, but noted that they were hampered by “severe weather conditions.”

Still, emergency workers were able to save several children on Wednesday found under a collapsed block in Turkey’s hard-hit Hatay province, where entire townships have been wiped out. “Suddenly we heard the voices of three people at the same time,” said lifeguard Alperen Cetinkaya. “We expect more from them…the chances of getting people out here alive are very high,” he added. The provisional balance of the tragedy already rises to 15,383 people dead.

In Turkey, where seven days of mourning and a three-month state of emergency were declared in the hardest-hit provinces, the number of deaths reached 12,391 people, according to authorities. In Syria, a country punished by more than a decade of civil war, the balance reaches 2,992 deaths, according to the balance of the Damascus government and civil protection teams in the rebel areas.

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