A young boy and his mother were taken alive from under a collapsed building when Turkey began to close its rescue operation after an earthquake that killed at least 38 people.
The 6.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in eastern Turkey on Friday night, killing 34 people in the Elâzığ province and four in the neighboring Malatya province. More than 1,600 people were injured, Turkey’s AFAD disaster authority said.
Rescue operations had largely ended late Sunday, but rescuers were still looking for three people in Elâzığ, about 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of Ankara, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said.
“We are still hopeful, we have not lost hope,” he told CNN Turk.
The rescued included a 35-year-old woman and her daughter, two, in the Mustafa Pasa district of Elâzığ. Rescuers who heard their screams took several hours to reach them at temperatures as low as -4 ° C (24.8 ° F), state media said.
“Can you hear me?” The television images showed a rescuer calling the mother. “We are coming. We will save you.
“Please take me out, I can’t take it anymore. Grab my daughter, I am nothing without my son, ”she replied before being safely removed in a crane.
The woman’s husband was among those killed.
In a nearby neighborhood, rescuers stood in mountains of rubble where the earthquake divided an apartment building in half. They dug using buckets, blowing whistles to indicate they needed silence to listen to trapped people.
Rescue teams, supported by thousands of emergency workers from other provinces and hundreds of volunteers, removed 45 people from under the rubble since the earthquake, AFAD said.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that 104 people were being treated in the hospital.
AFAD said it had sent more than 10,400 tents, 17,000 beds, 37,000 blankets, heaters and food supplies to the affected areas and Soylu said AFAD had received 7 million lire (£ 900,000) from a public donation campaign.
AFAD said 1,521 buildings had been damaged, including 645 with severe damage and 76 collapsed structures. In a statement, he said he had transferred 3 million lire in emergency aid to each of the municipalities of Elâzığ and Malatya.
He warned residents not to enter damaged buildings due to the danger of collapse and new aftershocks, of which he said there were 844.