A hundred people were able to get out alive from among the destroyed buildings. They are still missing. The earthquake in the Aegean Sea, of 7 degrees, left at least 30 dead.
Rescue teams were struggling on Saturday to find survivors in the rubble of buildings that collapsed in western Turkey after Friday’s strong earthquake, which left at least 30 dead and hundreds injured in this country and Greece.
At Bayrakli, in the Turkish province of Izmir, lifeguards tried throughout the night to make their way through a gigantic pile of concrete and steel ruins, the remains of a seven-story residential building, according to witnesses.
Further afield, cries could be heard from the crowd as the lifeguards they extracted a lifeless body out of the rubble, transporting him inside a black mortuary bag.
“Let me see who it is!” Pleaded a man with no news of his loved ones.
The earthquake, whose magnitude was evaluated at 7 degrees by the United States Geophysical Institute (USGS) and at 6.6 by the Turkish authorities, occurred on Friday afternoon in the Aegean Sea, southwest of Izmir, the third largest city of Turkey, and near the Greek island of Samos.
The shock was so strong that it was felt even in Istanbul and Athens. Further, caused a minitsunami that flooded the streets of Seferihisar, a Turkish city located near the epicenter, and swept the shores of Samos.
Faced with this catastrophe, Turkey and Greece put their diplomatic disputes aside, and they were willing to help each other.
In Greece two young people died and nine people were injured. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis planned to travel to Samos on Saturday afternoon, where the situation “is extremely difficult,” according to Civil Protection.
The densely populated Turkish Aegean coast was the hardest hit. In Turkey, at least 28 people died and 900 were injured, according to the latest balance sheet from the Emergency and Disaster Management (AFAD).
Since the earthquake, a hundred people were rescued alive from the rubble, Turkish Environment Minister Murat Kurum said on Saturday. Two women were saved 17 hours after the earthquake, according to the government.
In Bayrakli, a district with about 300,000 inhabitants, the authorities installed tents so that families could spend the night, since many lost their homes and had no where to sleep.
Nermin Yeni, 56, was at home cooking when the earth shook. “I rushed outside, and then I collapsed,” he says, in front of the tent where he spent the night.
Others, with less luck, slept in sleeping bags on a lawn, and some in their cars.
In the neighborhood, rescuers sometimes called for silence, hoping to hear from possible survivors, before continuing their search.
Many residents whose homes weathered the quake also decided to stay outside. The fear of aftershocks is enormous: Since the main earthquake on Friday, the earth shook about 500 times, according to authorities.
More than 6,000 rescue personnel were mobilized in the affected region, according to the Turkish presidency.