Rescues offer moments of relief after quake that has killed more than 22,000
CBC News reporter Briar Stewart is at the scene as rescue crews, with help from a Canadian team, extract a woman trapped for days under a collapsed building in Adiyaman, Turkey.
Rescuers shouted "God is great" and hugged each other on Friday after freeing a woman who was trapped for five days in the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in earthquake-ravaged Turkey.
CBC journalists were on the scene in the southeastern city of Adiyaman as the woman was pulled from the debris, fitted with an oxygen mask, placed on a stretcher and carried to an ambulance.
The woman was trapped under a door in the building in an air pocket, which allowed rescuers to talk to her and provide food and water.
"This happened Monday. She's been in that building for days, freezing cold … and now she has been freed, the latest survivor of this earthquake. Really just a miraculous thing to see," said the CBC's Briar Stewart.
Volunteers with the B.C.-based Burnaby Urban Search and Rescue Team — who flew into Turkey on Tuesday after getting the green light from the Turkish consulate in Vancouver — were also on scene. The team brought high-tech cameras and other equipment to help find survivors.
"We were assisting them with many of our tools, so they could get through a lot of the material there to get access to her," said Canadian Brodie McKenzie.
"It's incredible," he said of the rescue. "It's such a rare event that you have someone who can survive these conditions."
Rescuers pulled several people alive from other shattered remnants of buildings on Friday, some who survived more than 100 hours trapped under crushed concrete in the bitter cold after a catastrophic earthquake hit Turkey and Syria early Monday, killing more than 22,000.
Rescues bring fleeting moments of joy
In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, teenager Adnan Mohammet Korkut was pulled from beneath the rubble of a collapsed building early Friday.
In Adiyaman on Thursday, rescue crews pulled four-year-old Yagiz Komsu from the debris of his home. They later managed to rescue his mother, Ayfer Komsu, who survived with a fractured rib, according to HaberTurk television, which broadcast the rescue live.
Elsewhere, HaberTurk television said rescuers had identified nine people trapped inside the remains of a highrise apartment block in Iskenderun and pulled out six of them on Friday, including a woman who waved at onlookers as she was being carried away on a stretcher.
The building was only 200 metres from the Mediterranean Sea and narrowly avoided being flooded when the massive earthquake sent water surging into the city centre.
There were still more stories: A married couple was pulled from the rubble in Iskenderun after spending 109 hours buried in a small crevice. A German team said it worked for more than 50 hours to free a woman from the rubble of a house in Kirikhan.
In the hard-hit city of Kahramanmaras, two teenage sisters were saved, and video of the operation showed one emergency worker playing a pop song on his smartphone to distract them.
Even though experts say trapped people can live for a week or more, the chances of finding survivors are dimming.
The rescues Friday provided fleeting moments of joy and relief amid the misery and hardship gripping the shattered region, where morgues and cemeteries are overwhelmed and bodies lie wrapped in blankets, rugs and tarps in the streets of some cities.
Some 12,000 buildings in Turkey have either collapsed or sustained serious damage, according to Turkey's Minister of Environment and Urban Planning, Murat Kurum.
WATCH | Baby born during earthquake in Syria in stable condition:
In Syria, a baby born during Monday's earthquake miraculously survived after being pulled from the rubble. It was a moment of hope in the battered country where the ongoing civil war is making relief efforts difficult.
Another incredible rescue involved a Syrian baby girl whose mother had given birth to her while trapped under the rubble of their home.
Rescue workers in Jenderis discovered the infant on Monday afternoon, more than 10 hours after the 7.8-magnitude quake hit, destroying the five-storey apartment building where her parents lived.
The infant's mother, father and all four of her siblings died in the quake. The baby now has a name and a guardian, hospital officials said on Thursday. A great-uncle is taking care of Aya, which is Arabic for "a sign from God."
'Support arrived very late'
The CBC's Chris Brown talked to a man in Turkey's historic city of Antakya, in Hatay province, the region hardest-hit.
Özgür Kesici said he's losing hope that his mother and other close relatives could still be found alive in the rubble of their collapsed building.
"The support arrived very late, Kesici said. "They've been working like this (with heavy equipment) since yesterday and today is Friday," he said. The quake struck shortly after 4 a.m. on Monday, while many people were asleep.
Özgür Kesici has been helping with rescue efforts in Antakya, Turkey, even as he kept up his own desperate search for his mom and other close relatives still missing after the building they lived in collapsed in Monday's earthquake.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday visited Adiyaman province, where he acknowledged the government's response was not as fast as it could have been.
"Although we have the largest search and rescue team in the world right now, it is a reality that search efforts are not as fast as we wanted them to be," he said.
Delivering meals to survivors
Elsewhere, celebrity chef José Andrés, of Spain, whose World Central Kitchen has helped feed people in disaster zones around the world, says his team is serving up hot meals to earthquake survivors.
Members of the humanitarian organization he founded arrived in Turkey hours after the quake struck and fanned out across the country.
José Andrés, celebrity chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, travelled to Elbistan, Turkey, to help provide aid to the victims of the earthquake. He says the scale of destruction is unlike anything he's seen before.
"This is 10 major cities and many other small towns, with thousands of buildings destroyed or damaged. This is one earthquake for the ages," and that's why every organization that can help should, Andrés told CBC News. He said the group is also currently helping earthquake survivors in Syria, as well as people displaced by wildfires in Chile.
The Michelin chef said he travelled six or seven hours to reach the Turkish city of Elbistan on Friday and saw widespread destruction along the way.
With files from The Associated Press
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