Survivors continue to be pulled from rubble in wake of massive earthquake in Turkey, Syria
02/17/2023 // JD Heyes // Views

Rescuers are continuing to pull a few survivors from the rubble left behind in the wake of the massive 7.8 earthquake that shook an area the size of Britain, covering parts of Turkey and Syria earlier this month, reports noted on Friday.

After 10 days of searching through the rubble of a powerful earthquake that struck parts of Turkey and Syria, rescuers were able to pull out at least three more people, including two minors, alive. A 17-year-old girl named Aleyna Olmez, dubbed the "miracle girl," was rescued 248 hours after the Feb. 6 quake, followed by the rescue of Neslihan Kilic, 30, and a 12-year-old boy named Osman who reported that more people were buried nearby, according to CNN.

According to authorities, at least 43,885 people have lost their lives as a result of the 7.8 magnitude quake that hit both countries. Rescue efforts have been challenged by a cold winter spell and transportation difficulties in northwestern Syria, amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis worsened by years of political strife.

As a result, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has launched an appeal for $1 billion in aid for Turkey and $397 million for Syria to support earthquake relief efforts and mental health services. There have also been security problems in connection with buildings that were destroyed or damaged from the earthquake.

On Thursday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag stated that in connection with buildings that were destroyed or damaged from the earthquake, at least 54 people have been arrested in Turkey amid accusations about the extent of the damage.


After her rescue, the crew from Turkey's state news channel TRT Haber visited Olmez in the hospital to speak with her, her doctors, and her family. The footage showed Aleyna with her eyes open, lying in her hospital bed with tubes for oxygen and supplements, her body covered up to her neck.

She was taken directly to the Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University Faculty of Medicine after being rescued on Thursday. Aleyna's aunt and grandmother were also shown next to her bedside, touching her face and hands. When asked how she was feeling by the TRT Haber correspondent holding a microphone, Aleyna smiled and shook her head.

“She couldn’t eat anything and drank nothing the whole time (when she was under the rubble), but she was still in a good condition," her doctor, Prof. Dilber, told the local news outlet, per CNN.

Dilber added that “since she couldn’t move under the rubble at all, we could say that her inactivity has protected Aleyna a little and she needed energy and she has endured during this time, but I guess we can’t explain it that way.”

There have been multiple earthquakes in Turkey and Syria in recent years, causing significant damage and loss of life. Here is a brief summary of some of the most notable earthquakes and their effects:

  1. 2021 Aegean Sea earthquake: On October 30, 2020, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea, affecting both Turkey and the Greek island of Samos. At least 115 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured in Turkey, with many buildings, including several apartment blocks, collapsing or being severely damaged.
  2. 2020 Elazig earthquake: On January 24, 2020, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck near the city of Elazig in eastern Turkey, killing at least 41 people and injuring over 1,600. Many buildings, including apartment blocks, were damaged or destroyed.
  3. 2018 Sulaymaniyah earthquake: On November 12, 2018, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck near the Iraq-Iran border, which also affected parts of Syria. At least 530 people were killed, and over 8,000 were injured in the region, with many buildings collapsing or being severely damaged.
  4. 2016 Idlib Governorate earthquakes: In 2016, a series of earthquakes struck the Idlib Governorate in Syria, with the most significant earthquake occurring on October 26, 2016, with a magnitude of 6.1. At least 50 people were killed and many buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.

Sources include:

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