At least three more people, including two children, have been incredibly pulled alive from the rubble of a devastating earthquake, 10 days after it struck parts of Turkey and Syria.
Aleyna Ölmez, 17, was dubbed the "miracle girl" when she was pulled alive from the rubble in Turkey on Thursday, 248 hours after the February 6 earthquake, as rescue efforts transition to recovery operations ten days later. of the disaster. .
His rescue was later followed by that of 30-year-old Neslihan Kilic and a 12-year-old boy named Osman, who told rescuers that more people were buried nearby.
At least 43,885 people have died in Turkey and neighboring Syria after the powerful 7.8-magnitude quake, according to authorities. Efforts to recover survivors have been hampered by a winter cold snap in quake-hit regions, while authorities grapple with the logistical challenges of transporting aid to northwestern Syria amid an acute humanitarian crisis compounded by years of political conflict.
Amid recriminations in Turkey over the extent of the damage, at least 54 people have been arrested in the country in connection with buildings that were destroyed or damaged by the quake, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, UN Secretary General António Guterres announced a request for $1 billion in aid for earthquake relief efforts in Turkey over the course of three months. It came two days after the UN launched an urgent appeal for $397 million in earthquake relief for Syria, which also covers a three-month period as humanitarian agencies stress the need for psychological and mental health services in the affected regions.
Turkey's state-run news channel TRT Haber's team visited teenager Aleyna Ölmez in her hospital room after the rescue operation and spoke to her, her doctors and family members. Speaking from her hospital bed, TRT Haber cameras showed Aleyna's eyes open, her body covered up to her neck, and tubes inserted for oxygen supplements.
Alyena was taken directly to the Kahramanmaraş Sutcu Imam University Faculty of Medicine after the rescue operation on Thursday.
A video showed Aleyna's aunt and grandmother by her bed, touching her face and kissing her hands. When the TRT Haber correspondent approached Aleyna with a microphone to ask how she was doing, Aleyna shook her head and smiled.
Aleyna's doctor Prof. Dilber said he was very surprised by Aleyna's good health condition and told TRT Haber: “She couldn't eat anything and drank nothing the whole time (when she was under the rubble), but she was still in a good condition .”
Dr. Dilber added that “since she couldn't move under the rubble at all, we could say that her inactivity has protected Aleyna a little and she needed energy and she has endured during this time, but I guess we can't explain it that way.”
A baby girl who was born under the rubble caused by an earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey receives treatment inside an incubator at a children's hospital in the town of Afrin, Aleppo province, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Residents in the northwest Syrian town discovered the crying infant whose mother gave birth to her while buried beneath the rubble of a five-story apartment building leveled by this week's devastating earthquake, relatives and a doctor say. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)
Children orphaned by the quake in Turkey and Syria face an uncertain future
The moment Aleyna was brought into the hospital, she was conscious and talking to the doctors. “We have made the necessary interventions. Body imaging was done, and blood tests were taken. She was in a very good condition,” Dr. Dilber told TRT Haber.
“There was no hypothermia. Blood tests also showed very good kidney functions. Muscle enzymes weren't too high. Fluid therapy started immediately. After the fluid therapy, Aleyna still spoke to us very well,” he added.
Hacer Atlas, a member of the search and rescue team who saved the young quake victim told Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu that they were able to reach Aleyna after long and tiring efforts.
“First we held her hand, then we took her out. She is in very good condition, and she can communicate. I hope we will continue to receive good news about her,” Atlas said about the moment when they found Aleyna.
TRT Haber reported later that Aleyna was brought to the Turkish capital of Ankara by plane.
Kilic, the 30-year-old woman who was rescued on Thursday, 258 hours after the quake, was also found in Kahramanmaras, where she and her family used to live on the seventh floor of the Ebrar apartment complex, according to her brother- in-law Gazi Yildirim.
Yildirim told CNN Turk that her husband and two children, aged two and five, were still under the rubble.
Despite the violence of the quake and the long wait to be rescued, Kilic was able to speak and tell rescuers her name as they pulled her out of the rubble, she said.
Yildirim began to cry when she told CNN reporter Turk that Kilic's grave was already prepared.
“May Allah save others. She has two children and a husband who is still under the rubble," Yildirim said.
Hours later, a 12-year-old boy named Osman was also rescued in the southern province of Hatay.
According to CNN Turk, Osman also appeared to be in relatively good condition and was found sitting in a hole surrounded by beams and rubble. He was taken to a hospital for a medical check-up.
Osman told the rescue team that another person was in the same place. Police searched the area with guide dogs after Osman was rescued and accelerated the search for the second person.
The three join a small group of earthquake survivors who have defied predictions that the time for survival had passed earlier this week. On Tuesday, a 77-year-old woman was pulled alive from the rubble in the city of Adiyaman some 212 hours after the earthquake, Anadolu reported.
The Cameroonian authorities have detected on Monday two suspected cases of Marburg disease in Olamze, on the border with Equatorial Guinea, the public health delegate for the region, Robert Mathurin Bidjang, reported on Tuesday.
Equatorial Guinea officially declared its first outbreak of the Marburg virus, an Ebola-like disease, on Monday.
Neighboring Cameroon had restricted movement along the border to avoid contagion following reports of an unknown deadly hemorrhagic fever in Equatorial Guinea last week.
“On February 13 we had two suspected cases. These are two 16-year-old children, a boy and a girl, who have no history of travel to the affected areas of Equatorial Guinea,” Bidjang said at a meeting in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé.
Forty-two people who came into contact with the two children have been identified and contact tracing is ongoing, it added.
FILE PHOTO: Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, attends a briefing at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2018.
Two dead as Ghana confirms its first outbreak of deadly Marburg virus
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it was increasing its epidemiological surveillance in Equatorial Guinea.
The small Central African country has so far reported nine deaths as well as 16 suspected cases of the Marburg virus disease, with symptoms including fever, fatigue and bloody vomiting and diarrhea, according to the WHO.
“Surveillance on the ground has been intensified,” said George Ameh, WHO representative in Equatorial Guinea.
“Contact tracing, as you know, is a cornerstone of the response. We have… redeployed the COVID-19 teams that were there for contact tracing and quickly modernized them to really help us.”
Equatorial Guinea quarantined more than 200 people and restricted movement last week in its Kie-Ntem province, where hemorrhagic fever was first detected.
Marburg virus is a highly infectious disease that can have a mortality rate of up to 88%, according to the WHO. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat it.