Anadolu Agency (AP) – Six days after two earthquakes caused thousands of buildings to collapse, rescuers were able to save additional survivors, including a pregnant mother and two young children, while Turkish judicial authorities targeted more than 130 persons who were allegedly engaged in sloppy and unlawful construction procedures.
The death toll from the earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday reached 33,179 as of Sunday, and it was expected to grow as more corpses are found in the wreckage by search engines. Authorities said that the accident also wounded around 92,600 more persons.
The attention shifted to who was to blame for not adequately preparing people in the earthquake-prone region, which includes a section of Syria that was already suffering from years of civil conflict, while sorrow also fueled resentment at the agonisingly delayed rescue attempts.
Although Turkey’s building regulations adhere to modern earthquake engineering requirements on paper, they are much too infrequently enforced, which explains why thousands of structures collapsed or collapsed upon occupants.
According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Sunday that 134 persons were being probed for their suspected involvement in the construction of structures that were not earthquake-resistant. He said that seven persons were in custody, three had been held awaiting trial, and seven more were prohibited from leaving the country.
Bozdag has pledged to hold those responsible accountable, and prosecutors have started collecting samples from buildings as proof of the building materials. Although the quakes were strong, victims, professionals, and citizens throughout Turkey are attributing the increased destruction to poor building.
According to the private DHA news agency and other media, authorities at Istanbul Airport apprehended two contractors on Sunday who are thought to be behind the damage of many structures in Adiyaman. According to reports, the duo was travelling to Georgia.
Yavuz Karakus, one of the contractors who was detained, told reporters on Sunday: “My conscience is clean. I created 44 structures. Of these, four were destroyed. I followed the regulations in all I did, the DHA news agency claimed.
According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, two additional persons were detained in the province of Gaziantep on suspicion of removing columns from a structure that later fell in order to create more space.
A day earlier, the Justice Ministry of Turkey announced plans to create offices to investigate earthquake crimes. The agencies’ objectives would be to identify the builders and other parties in charge of the construction process, collect proof, train professionals like architects, geologists, and engineers, and examine building licences and occupancy permits.
Before he could leave the country, a construction contractor was stopped by officials on Friday at the Istanbul airport. In the ancient city of Antakya, in the province of Hatay, he had constructed a lavish 12-story structure known as Ronesans Rezidans. There were many fatalities when it crashed. On Saturday, he was officially detained.
The individual said that the building fulfilled requirements and that he was unaware that it wasn’t earthquake-resistant in leaked testimony that was published by Anadolu. His attorney said that they were searching for a scapegoat.
The detentions may assist in redirecting public ire away from local and state authorities who let the ostensibly subpar builds to proceed and onto builders and contractors. In addition to being affected by a recession and rising inflation, the Turkish administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must contend with presidential and legislative elections in May.
The authorities are the target of the indignation and wrath of the survivors, many of whom lost close ones. The extensive devastation that has affected airports and roadways has overburdened the rescue teams, making it extra harder to move quickly.
Erdogan recognised earlier in the week that the significant destruction had hindered the early reaction. In Turkey, 13.5 million people live in the 500 km (310 km) in diameter worst-affected region, according to him. Erdogan said a calamity of this magnitude was uncommon and once again referred to it as the “disaster of the century” when touring earthquake-damaged communities on Saturday.
Rescue teams, including those from foreign nations, kept searching the debris in the hopes of locating more victims who may yet be able to overcome the bleak prospects. Rescue workers urged stillness so they could hear the trapped people’s voices while they utilised thermal cameras to scan the mounds of metal and concrete.
In the severely damaged province of Hatay, a pregnant lady was saved on Sunday, 157 hours after the earthquake, according to state television TRT.
A 6-year-old kid was rescued from the rubble of his Adiyaman house live on Haber Turk television. The kid was placed in an ambulance after being covered in a space blanket. A number of ladies could be heard sobbing with excitement, and one fatigued rescuer removed his surgical mask and took big breaths.
Fahrettin Koca, Turkey’s health minister, shared a video of a little child who was saved wearing a navy blue sweater. “At the 150th hour, good news. teams recently performed a rescue. Always have hope,” he tweeted.
In Antakya, hours after hearing sounds from under the debris, rescuers managed to free a guy. The guy, who seemed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, was one of nine people still trapped in the structure, according to workers. He said he hadn’t heard any sounds in three days when asked whether he knew of any other survivors.
Workers cheered and screamed “God is awesome!” as they passed the guy on a stretcher as he faintly waved his hand.
German news agency dpa said that a group of German and Turkish rescuers pulled an 88-year-old lady alive from the ruins near Kirikhan. An Italian and Turkish rescue team’s efforts were successful in freeing a 35-year-old man from the rubble in the severely damaged city of Antakya. According to private NTV television, he seemed unharmed as he was carried to an ambulance on a stretcher.
A 32-year-old lady was rescued from the rubble of an eight-story building in the city of Antakya during the course of the night, according to state-run Anadolu Agency, while a kid was also released in the village of Nizip in Gaziantep. NTV said that the lady immediately requested tea after coming out.
Sniffer dogs have located a survivor under a now-pancaked seven-story building in Kahramanmaras, close to the epicentre of the initial 7.8 earthquakes that hit early Monday morning, according to NTV.
However, those who were discovered alive remained the uncommon exception.
On Saturday, a sizable improvised cemetery was being built outside of Antakya. Pits were being excavated on the field by backhoes and bulldozers while vehicles and ambulances carrying black corpse bags kept pulling up. Simple wooden boards buried vertically in the earth served as burial markers for the many graves, which were just three feet (one metre) apart.
The airport in Hatay, whose runway was damaged by the earthquake, reopened on Sunday, according to the ministry of transportation. That ought to aid some in bringing assistance to the area.
The situation in Syria across the border is less clear.
Martin Griffiths, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement that Syrians had been left “searching for international support that hasn’t come” when touring the Turkish-Syrian border on Sunday.
“Up to this point, we have failed the residents of northwest Syria. He said, “My role and our mission is to repair this failing as quickly as we can. They rightfully feel abandoned.
Three days after the earthquake, on Thursday, the first United Nations convoy arrived in northwest Syria from Turkey.
Before then, the only cargo passing through the Bab al-Hawa crossing between Turkey and Syria was a constant flow of quake victims’ remains returning home for burial. These were Syrian refugees who had left their country’s civil conflict and lived in Turkey.
Aid convoys delivered from northeastern Syria’s Kurdish-controlled regions to the Syrian government and rebels supported by Turkey who have fought alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces throughout the years have also been slowed down by political issues.
The White Helmets, a group of rescue workers, report that 2,166 people have died in the northwest of Syria in areas controlled by rebels. On Saturday, 3,553 people had died in Syria as a whole; however, the 1,387 fatalities recorded for the government-controlled areas of the nation had not been updated in many days.