TRAGEDY HITS TURKEY
Swinging from hope to despair and back again
Rescue teams rescued a two-week-old baby girl, Azra Karaduman, from the rubble in the Erciş district of the eastern province of Van almost two days after a strong quake hit the district.
Turkey has experienced feelings of both sorrow and joy in the past two days, due to the death of a young boy late Monday, a victim of Sunday’s powerful earthquake in the eastern province of Van who drew the world’s attention with his photo, and the rescue of a baby girl from the rubble on Tuesday, nearly two days after the quake.
Yunus Geray, a 13-year-old survivor of the earthquake, who drew the world’s attention with a photograph in which he is seen with another victim’s hand on his shoulder as he waits to be rescued, died late Monday on his way to the hospital after his miraculous rescue. Yunus was the sole survivor in a collapsed building, from which rescuers pulled 10 dead bodies. He was reportedly in an Internet café on the first floor of the building when the 7.2 magnitude-quake hit.
He was rescued from the rubble nearly 12 hours after the quake. Yunus was still conscious when rescued, and when rescue workers told him it was 10 p.m. he said: “Oh no, it is very late. Don’t tell my father.” He died on his way to the hospital.
His father, Yusuf Geray, said his son was pulled out of the rubble with fractures in his legs, arms and neck. He said the boy lost consciousness as he was being taken to a hospital in Erzurum, after doctors said he had internal bleeding. The grieving father said the family’s home suffered little damage in the earthquake, and that all of the members of the family, including nine children, are alive except for Yunus, who left for the Internet café.
One day after the news of Yunus’ death, new hope emerged from the earthquake’s rubble with the rescue of a two-week-old baby girl. A search and rescue team found the infant, Azra Karaduman, under the rubble in Van’s Erciş district almost two days after the quake. Television footage showed rescuers in orange jumpsuits applauding as the baby was removed from the wreckage of a collapsed six-storey building. A rescuer cradled the naked baby, who was wrapped in a blanket and handed over to a medic. Baby Azra was with her mother Semiha, father Sinan, grandfather Ahmet and Grandmother Saadet Karaduman when the quake hit. Her grandparents and mother were also rescued; but rescue teams are continuing to search for Azra’s father.
Saadet Karaduman told the Anatolia news agency that his family had come to Van only five months ago for his job. Because Semiha Karaduman delivered the baby one month early, her in-laws invited Arza and her parents to Van so that they (the grandparents) could help care for the baby. “They live in Sivas, but they came to Van two weeks ago for the health of the baby, thinking that we would help them take care of Azra.”
Kadir Direk was the first member of the search and rescue team to reach Azra. Direk talked about the rescue: “First we tried to search the wreckage beginning at the top. But when we realized that that wouldn’t work, we opened holes in every side of the rubble, hoping to hear sounds from inside. Semiha Karaduman replied to our calls, saying, ‘We can hear you. We have a baby with us, please hurry.’ I reached the baby through a hole I opened. I have been in many operations with the rescue teams, and I have pulled many bodies out before. But this was the first time I have rescued or even seen a baby coming out of the wreckage of a building alive after two days. It is a miracle.”
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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