1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Turkey-Syria earthquakes: Survivors still found in rubble

February 15, 2023

Turkish state TV and a Dutch rescue team separately reported finding people still alive in the rubble over a week after the devastating quakes struck. Turkey has vowed a massive reconstruction effort. DW has the latest.

Rescue workers stand amidst collapsed building in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Hatay, Turkey
Despite slim chances of survival, rescuers have still managed to find people alive and free them from the rubble in TurkeyImage: Clodagh Kilcoyne/REUTERS

Turkish search and rescue teams are still uncovering survivors of a deadly earthquake last week despite incredibly long odds of survival.

On Wednesday morning, a 42-year-old woman was pulled alive in Kahramanmaras province, state broadcaster TRT reported.

Melike Imamoglu had been under rubble for 222 hours, according to the TV report, though her rescue could not be independently verified.

Turkish media has been inundated with reports on the things that those who were rescued have done to stay alive.

Two brothers who were pulled from the collapsed debris Tuesday morning in Kahramanmaras latter told CNN Turk they had access to protein powder which they dissolved in their own urine and drank to survive.

A Dutch team also announced the successful rescue of four people, three men and a child, in the city of Antakya in the Hatay region. A man and his son were rescued overnight whereas the other two were found late Tuesday.

The Dutch team consists of 28 volunteers and nine sniffer dogs.

Here are other updates from Wednesday, February 15, on the aftermath of the deadly earthquakes

Turkey vows massive reconstruction effort

The Turkish government said it would demolish severely damaged buildings and begin the massive task of reconstruction.

Over 50,000 buildings have either collapsed or sustained heavy damage during the earthquakes, officials said.

Turkey's Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum tweeted, "We will quickly demolish what needs to be demolished and build safe houses."

The government said in southern Hatay province, half the buildings collapsed or were so badly damaged that they will need to be torn down.

At a news conference in Malatya, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) from where the earthquake struck, Tourism Minister Nuri Ersoy urged people who could to return home once authorities deemed their place of residence safe so as "to start getting back to normal."

Thousands of families have been left homeless and are struggling to survive despite freezing conditions.

Blinken to visit Incirlik air base to observe aid relief

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to travel to Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey to observe aid distribution and relief efforts following last week's devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

The US State Department said the visit would come on the heels of his plans to attend the Munich Security Conference this weekend in Germany. 

Blinken's visit to the US base in southeastern Turkey on Sunday will enable him "to see firsthand US efforts to assist the Turkish authorities," spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Blinken is also scheduled to meet with senior Turkish officials in Ankara.

Jordan's Foreign Minister meets Assad on first visit since Syrian war began

Ayman Safadi, the foreign minister of Jordan, met Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, the first such visit since 2011 when the conflict in Syria began.

In the meeting, Assad said he welcomed "any positive stance," notably from fellow Arab nations. A statement from the Syrian Presidency also emphasized "bilateral cooperation between Syria and Jordan."

Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan called Assad to convey a willingness to provide humanitarian aid following the earthquake.

Safadi's visit was an effort to convey national solidarity with Syria in the wake of the devastating earthquake last week, Jordan's Foreign Ministry said. 

It is the second by a senior Arab diplomat since the earthquake after Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan met with Assad last Sunday. Safadi also met with his counterpart, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

UAE promises $50 million more in aid for Syrian quake relief

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) pledged an additional $50 million (€47 million) in aid to Syria, the country's official WAM news agency reported. The latest announcement brings the total of aid pledged by the UAE to over $100 million.

The Emiratis' announcement comes a day after the UN called for an addition $397 million in relief funds earmarked to help quake victims in Syria. Twenty million dollars of the new fund is earmarked in response to the UN's appeal.

After more than a decade of conflict, millions need emergency relief. The UAE normalized relations with Syria and its leader, Bashar al-Assad, in 2018.

Over the weekend, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited Syria and meet with al-Assad and his country's search and rescue team. 

King Charles expresses sorrow over quake victims

The UK's King Charles III met with Turkish and Syrian communities in London to show support for the victims and survivors of those affected by the devastating earthquake last week.

On a visit to the temporarily constructed "Syria House" in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, Charles paid his respects to those who died in the catastrophe.

After meeting with Charles, Salah Al-Asmar told the Associated Press, "For seven days, my family were under the rubble. There was no rescue team. No one could support them in this moment. I haven't been able to sleep for days."

He also joined the Turkish ambassador Umit Yalcin on a visit to a west London charity organizing shipments of tents, blankets, winter attire and toiletries for those now homeless after the natural disaster.

ar/rs (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)