A week after the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria, rescuers are still managing to extract several people alive from the rubble: an 88-year-old woman was pulled out of her home in Kirikhan, in the Antioch district, a seven-month-old baby survived 140 hours in the debris.
Thanks to the local rescue teams, but also to those sent by various foreign countries, which have mobilized to bring solidarity to the affected areas. But tension grows among the displaced, and the representatives of humanitarian aid end up under attack.
There have been, for example, lootings in the port city of Iskenderun: “The displaced, hungry, attack the aid trucks”, Monsignor Paolo Bizzeti told La Repubblica. In the aforementioned Antioch, those who have lost everything struggle and jostle for food, eventually snatching it from the hands of the other victims of the tragedy.
And the looters case also makes its way, with several individuals beaten to death because they are simply suspected of having stolen from destroyed houses.
The Israeli search and rescue group, United Hatzalah, has left Turkey after six days of activity for “a significant security threat”: Antioch, close to the Syrian border, is one of the most hostile areas to Jerusalem, and those responsible have received intelligence warnings of a “concrete and immediate” threat against the delegation. Even emissaries from Germany and Austria briefly interrupted the relief efforts after hearing “shots in the area”.
Two groups of Italian firefighters have returned and will be replaced: in Syria they saved two boys and recovered sixteen bodies. The total number of victims is close to 40,000 in the official counts, which continue to be updated.
There are currently 29,605 in Turkey and 9,300 in Syria, “where the number of victims will continue to grow as we gain access to affected areas,” said Rick Brennam, regional head of emergencies at the World Health Organization.
A balance that also raises the issue of burials and the risk of cholera. In Hatay, Turkey, victims are buried in mass graves. Meanwhile, the authorities are accusing the builders of the buildings – one in every seven – which collapsed: 131 were reported after a lightning investigation, of which 113 with arrest warrants.
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