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Monday, November 23, 2020

Turkey: Toddler rescued from rubble as earthquake death toll rises

Rescuers have saved another child in the Turkish city of Izmir as the toll from Friday's earthquake rose to over 100.

By: Deutsche Welle | Updated: November 4, 2020 8:12:19 am
Turkey earthquake, Turkey earthquake toll, Turkey earthquake death toll, death toll in Turkey earthquake, World news, Indian ExpressThe child was wrapped in a thermal blanket as she emerged to applause from onlookers. (AFAD/ REUTERS)

Emergency crews in the western Turkish city of Izmir said they rescued a young girl who was found in the rubble next to a dishwasher in a collapsed 8-floor apartment building in Bayrakli precinct. Her rescue comes four days after a major earthquake hit Turkey and Greece.

The girl waved, said her name and said she was okay, recounted rescuer Nusret Aksoy. The child was wrapped in a thermal blanket as she emerged to applause from onlookers.

“I got goosebumps and my colleague Ahmet cried,” Aksoy said.

“A miracle in the 91st hour,” said Izmir’s mayor Tunc Soyer. “Along with the great pain we have experienced, we have this joy as well.”

Reports identified the girl as Ayda Gezgin, saying she was between 3 or 4 years old. She was the 107th person extracted alive from collapsed buildings in the affected zone.

Elsewhere, crews retrieved more bodies, raising the death toll from Friday’s Aegean Sea earthquake that also jolted Greece’s Samos island to at least 104, with nearly 1,000 persons injured. Two teenagers also died on Samos.

Some 147 quake survivors remain in hospital, three of them in serious condition, said Turkish emergency officials as aftershocks continued.

Turkish agencies rated the quake lower than the US Geological Service’s 7.0 magnitude, but it still ranks as Turkey’s deadliest since one in 2011 in Van. Then, more than 500 people killed in that eastern Turkish city.

Lax construction blamed

Efforts in Izmir involving some 8,000 personnel and 25 rescue dogs, has also coincided with arrests of 52 people accused of spreading rumors and criticism about lax construction standards.

On Saturday, the newspaper Hurriyet gave as examples two collapsed buildings in Bayrakli, determined by assessors’ reports in 2012 and 2018 to have had “low-quality concrete.”

Nine people had been detained for questioning about six building collapses, including contractors and officials who approved plans, reported Anadolu, the state-run news agency on Monday.

The Izmir disaster coincided with a report in Germany about a prototype mobile radar system to scan debris of collapsed buildings or avalanches for victims’ breathing and pulses with “high accuracy.”

Another mobile system developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for radar technique (FHR) near Bonn is designed to safeguard rescuers in debris fields in case structures are about to topple or slide.

FHR engineer and project leader Reinhold Herschel said the MIMO mobile radar, “detects the pulse rate and the breathing frequency of buried people, separating these from arm and leg movements.”

And, stationed at one spot, the radar could detect “vital signs of people moving in the area,” for example, “when there are numerous people needing first aid.”

“Longer-term a drone, equipped with a radar device, could fly over the disaster area. That would allow effective and quick searches of hectare-sized areas,” Herschel told Bonn’s General-Anzeiger newspaper.

Safeguarding search personnel

The other FHR system, code-named RAWIS and funded by Germany’s research ministry, “continuously monitors the scene of the emergency” in three dimensions.

Personalized, “high precision” signals flow to rescue workers to assess dangers levels and warn if debris, such as a tilting building, is about to collapse or slide, said FHR on its website.

Trials had been done, said the FHR, at Germany’s rescue training grounds, run by its federal technical relief service THW, at Handorf near Munster.

Also involved were universities at Siegen and Bochum in North Rhine-Westphalia state (NRW).

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