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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Survivors in the rubble give hope for more “miracles.” 

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Rescuers called for calm after hearing signs of life under a pile of rubble on Wednesday in front of a collapsed house in the southern Turkish city of Iskenderun. Bystanders, including family members, friends, and neighbors of the building’s residents stopped speaking while nearby cranes and other machinery stopped. After several minutes of silence, rescuers called an ambulance and confirmed that the woman was alive. The crowd burst into cheers and tears.

One woman, whose cousin and aunt lived in the building and are still missing, fell back onto a car bonnet and buried her face in her hands. Shortly before they were found, a body had been pulled from the debris just a few meters away. Rescue workers and volunteers quickly formed a chain to carry the woman to a waiting ambulance. Local residents said she was a single mother in her 50s who lived alone in the building. Her son stood by the ambulance and watched as she was carried down, they added. Several onlookers said it gave them renewed hope that their own missing loved ones would be found. One said she was hoping for a “miracle”. Rescue workers hugged as the woman was taken away – a rare moment of hope and happiness among so much devastation.

Destruction is everywhere in Iskenderun – many buildings have been destroyed, including a busy hospital. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it hit back on Wednesday as he grew increasingly angry over the state’s response to the disaster. Critics say the emergency response has been too slow and that his government has not adequately prepared earthquake-prone areas.

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