Turks end search for quake survivors, death toll nears 600

By REUTERS
October 30, 2011 14:56




ERCIS, Turkey - The death toll from last week's earthquake in southeast Turkey rose to 596 on Sunday, the day after authorities stopped searching for survivors and focused on helping thousands of homeless families in crisis.

In Ercis, the town hit hardest by the 7.2 magnitude quake that devastated Van province on Oct. 23, some shops reopened on Sunday, electricity was switched back on in parts of town and one bank's ATM started working.

But with barely any of Ercis's nearly 100,000 residents ready to return to their damaged homes with strong aftershocks still rattling the area, life is anything but normal. One aftershock on Sunday morning registered at magnitude 5.3.

Winter is fast approaching, temperatures plunge at night, and young and old in particular are falling sick in tent encampments set up by relief agencies on the outskirts of town.


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