The death toll from a massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria rose above 11,200 on Wednesday as rescuers raced to save survivors trapped under debris in the winter cold.stories are emerging from survivors, of both heartbreak and hope against the odds.
Officials and medics said 8,574 people had died in Turkey and 2,662 in Syria from Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the total to 11,236.
Nearly 50,000 people were also injured in Turkey and another 5,000 in Syria, officials and rescuers on both sides said.
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With hope fading to find survivors, stretched rescue teams toiled through the night in Turkey and Syria, searching for signs of life in the rubble of thousands of buildings toppled by a catastrophic earthquake.
As the death toll climbs further, stories are emerging from survivors, of both heartbreak and hope against the odds.
Moment of joy as boy smiles after rubble rescue
13-year-old boy rescued after 55 hours
A 13-year-old boy was rescued from rubble on Wednesday, 55 hours after devastating quakes hit southern Turkey. The boy, Berat, was saved in Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes, from the rubble after 3-hour-long intense work of the rescue teams.
While being taken to the ambulance, Berat also noticed his aunt, Dondu Ozturk, and asked the rescue teams to stop for her. He then handed his bird that was saved along with him to Ozturk before being referred to the nearest hospital.
Crying out of joy, Dondu Ozturk was heard saying "Thank God!" repeatedly.
5 victims rescued after 54 hours
After being trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings for 54 hours in Turkey's quake-hit southeastern Adiyaman province, five victims were rescued by teams on the ground on Wednesday. 46-year-old Hatice Tekin and her daughters Elif (12) and Ayca (10) were pulled alive from the debris of a collapsed five-story building after 54 hours, and were taken to medical teams. The rescue efforts in the collapsed building are going on for the father and Hatice's other child.
Meanwhile, in the Besni district of Adiyaman, through long efforts, fire brigade teams sent by the municipality of northwestern Kocaeli province rescued Ahmet Aydin and his son Yusuf, also 54 hours after the devastating quake hit the region.
3-year-old boy rescued after 2 days
Nearly two days after the quake, rescuers pulled a 3-year-old boy, Arif Kaan, from beneath the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in Kahramanmaras, which is not far from the epicenter. With the boy's lower body trapped under slabs of concrete and twisted rebar, emergency crews lay a blanket over his torso to protect him from below-freezing temperatures as they carefully cut the debris away from him, mindful of the possibility of triggering another collapse. The boy's father, Ertugrul Kisi, who himself had been rescued earlier, sobbed as his son was pulled free and loaded into an ambulance.
Child rescued after 40 hours
In a video shared by Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, volunteers rescued a child after more than 40 hours of being trapped under the rubble of her house in the city of Salqin.
The team also managed to rescue Jana alive from under the rubble of her house in the town of Jenderes, north of Aleppo.
Father holds lifeless hand of his daughter
For Mesut Hancer, a resident of the Turkish city Kahramanmaras, near the epicentre, it is already too late.
He sat on the freezing rubble, too grief-stricken to speak, refusing to let go of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak's hand as her body lay lifeless among the slabs of concrete and strands of twisted rebar.
Search teams from more than two dozen countries have joined tens of thousands of local emergency personnel, and aid pledges have poured in from around the world. But the scale of destruction from the 7.8 magnitude quake and its powerful aftershocks was so immense — and spread so wide, including in areas isolated by Syria’s ongoing civil war — that many are still waiting for help.
The scale of suffering was staggering in a region already beset by more than a decade of civil war in Syria that has displaced millions within the country and sent more to seek refuge in Turkey. With thousands of buildings toppled, it was not clear how many people might still be trapped underneath the rubble.