Turkey ends quake rescue mission

By: AFP      Published: 07:29 PM, 4 Nov, 2020
Turkey ends quake rescue mission

Turkey on Wednesday called off its search and rescue mission, five days after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea, killing 116 people in western Turkey and Greece.

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck on Friday off the Turkish town of Seferihisar, becoming the deadliest disaster in Turkey in nearly 10 years.

The Turkish disaster agency AFAD said on Wednesday 114 people had died and more than 1,000 were injured. Two teenagers were also killed in Greece.

"The work of search and rescue teams has been completed. We thank every worker and volunteer who contributed. We offer our most heartfelt gratitude," AFAD chief Mehmet Gulluoglu tweeted.

Their work had been closely followed across Turkey, with many people glued to their screens as children -- including two little girls -- were rescued days after the quake in the worst affected town of Bayrakli.

Ayda Gezgin, aged three, was rescued Tuesday, nearly four days after the quake. But hours later, the body of her mother, Fidan, 38, was removed from underneath the rubble.

Fidan was laid to rest on Wednesday as her son, Atakan, said an emotional farewell, Milliyet daily reported.

Dozens of buildings were heavily damaged or collapsed after the quake, while many more suffered lighter damage.

Thousands of families were forced to take shelter in tents out of fears of aftershocks, with food, blankets and water provided by local municipalities.

Turkey is a seismically active area and Istanbul lies near a major fault line. A 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck 100 kilometres (60 miles) southeast of the city killed 17,000 people in 1999.

A magnitude 6.8 quake hit the eastern province of Elazig and Malatya in January, killing more than 40 people.