Rescue workers pulled out a 13-year-old boy alive from rubble early on Friday, over 100 hours after an earthquake that killed more than 500 people in eastern Turkey, Turkish media reported.
The boy, who was rescued in the town of Ercis, the hardest hit by Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake, was taken to hospital in an ambulance, broadcaster NTV said.
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The rescue of the boy, and another man buried under rubble for more than 100 hours, cheered grief-stricken survivors of the massive earthquake in southeast Turkey, as thousands endured a fifth freezing, wet night without a roof over their heads.
People left homeless by Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake in the predominantly Kurdish eastern province of Van have complained bitterly over the slow delivery of relief in the early days of the disaster.
Drenched by pouring rain, more and more are falling sick, and with the
first winter snows expected in November there is urgent need to get
people under cover fast.
Praying that Friday will bring more tents and less rain, people in
Ercis, the worst hit town, needed every bit of good news as hope ran out
of finding any more survivors beneath the fallen buildings.
Hundreds of onlookers whooped with joy shouting "Allahu Akbar" -- "God
is greatest!" -- when a rescue team from Azerbaijan pulled a young man
out alive on Thursday evening.
"Praise be to Allah!" cried the uncle of 18-year-old Imdat, whose name
means "help" in Turkish, as his nephew was stretchered to a waiting
With most search operations beginning to wind down, some 185 people have
been found alive under the collapsed buildings since the quake struck
just before 2:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) on Sunday, according to an official
They could add to that one grey parrot that, according to state-run TRT
television, was plucked from the rubble, shrieking in its cage a couple
of hours after the young man.
As of late Thursday, the death toll was 535, with 2,300 people hurt in Turkey's biggest quake in more than a decade.
The numbers no-one seemed sure of were the homeless.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies put
the number of "affected people" at 50,000 in a news release to raise
funds for the relief effort
In Ercis alone, a town of around 100,000 people, it was clear that
hardly anyone was going back to their property even if it was still
Two or three tent cities have sprouted on the outskirts of Ercis, but
thousands of men, having settled their children and womenfolk as best
they can, wander the city at night looking for whatever shelter they can
find. With nowhere to go they lean against walls to protect themselves
from the rain.Told to go home
Some survivors, who had stood in long queues only to be told there were
no tents left, accused officials of handing aid to supporters of the
ruling AK party. Others said profiteers were hoarding tents and
Scuffles broke out in one long line to a distribution center, before police stepped in to calm tempers.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visited the area hours after the disaster
struck, and wants to build bridges with minority Kurds, and so any
accusations of neglect or ineptitude are particularly politically
More than 40,000 people have been killed in a Kurdish separatist
insurgency in the region that has lasted three decades. Last week
militants killed 24 troops in neighboring Hakkari province.
A government that had thought it could manage the relief effort alone is
now gratefully accepting foreign help in the shape of tents,
prefabricated housing and containers.
The first planeloads of tents arrived on Thursday from France, Ukraine
-- and Israel despite the poor relations between the two countries.
Unable to cope with the demand for tents, relief authorities in the
provincial capital Van decided to hand out tents to people only after
verifying that their homes were too unsafe to return to.
Vainly trying to dry linen and blankets after the rain, one mother of
three was ready to be persuaded to quit her tent and go home out of a
mixture of desperation and resignation.
Pointing at the block where she lived close to the city center in Van,
Nimet, the woman, in her forties, told Reuters: "It looks fine from the
outside, but inside it looks very unstable with all the cracks in the
"The university experts and the governor say go back to your houses, and
if they are ready to take responsibility we will go back. We are very
cold," she said, dressed in the headscarf and long floral dress common
"What other choices do we have but to go back to our houses anyway. Last
night, it rained and all our belongings are still wet. I don't know how
many more days we can stay in a tent like this."