The dramatic rescue, which took place 129 hours after the quake, brought the number of people rescued on Saturday to nine, despite dwindling hopes amid the freezing temperatures.

ANTAKYA, Hatay — Rescue teams in Turkey on Saturday pulled a family of five to safety after surviving in their collapsed home for five days after a strong earthquake in the vast border region of Turkey and Syria. However, the number of dead was approaching 25,000.

They were the first to pull mother and daughter Hawva and Fatmagül Aslan from a pile of debris in the heavily damaged city of Nurdag in Gaziantep province, HaberTurk reported. The team later reached the father, Hassan Aslan, but he insisted on rescuing his second daughter, Zeynep, and son Saltik Bugr first.

Then, when the father was taken out, the rescuers cheered and chanted “God is great!”

The dramatic rescue after 129 hours brings the number of people rescued on Saturday to nine, despite the diminishing of hopes against the background of frost. Among them were disoriented 16-year-old and 70-year-old women.

“What day is it?” Kamil Jan Agas, a teenager who was pulled out from under the rubble in Kahramanmaras, appealed to his rescuers, NTV channel reports.

Members of the mixed Turkish and Kyrgyz search parties embraced, as did the teenager’s cousins, with one shouting: “He’s gone, brother. He came out. He is here.”

The rescue brought glimmers of joy amid staggering destruction days after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake thousands of buildings were destroyed, which killed more than 24,000 people, injured another 80,000 and left millions homeless. Another earthquake, of almost equal magnitude and probably triggered by the first, caused more destruction a few hours later.

Rescuers in the Turkish city of Antakya put Ergin Guzelaglan, 36, in an ambulance after they pulled him from a collapsed building on Saturday.

However, not everything ended so well. Early on Saturday, rescuers reached a 13-year-old girl inside the wreckage of a collapsed building in Hatay province and intubated her. But she died before the teams of doctors could amputate the limb and free it from the debris, Hurriyet newspaper reports.

Although experts say that trapped people can live a week or more, the chances of finding more survivors were rapidly diminishing. Rescuers threw thermal cameras to help define life among the ruinsa sign of weakness among the survivors.

As aid continued to arrive, a team of 99 from the Indian Army’s medical aid team began treating the wounded at a makeshift field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where the main hospital had been destroyed.

One man, Shukru Kanbulat, was taken to hospital in a wheelchair, his left leg badly injured with deep bruises, contusions and lacerations.

Wincing in pain, he said he was rescued from a collapsed apartment building in the nearby city of Antakya hours after Monday’s quake. But after providing basic first aid, he was released without proper treatment.

According to him, the hospitals in Antakya were overwhelmed, and he came to the Indian field hospital in Iskenderun to finally get his injuries treated.

“I buried (everyone I lost), then I came here,” Kanbulat said, counting his dead relatives: “My daughter died, my own brother died, my aunt and her daughter died, and her son’s wife” was on 8 and a half months of pregnancy.

Temperatures remained below freezing across the greater region, leaving many people without shelter. The Turkish government distributed millions of hot meals as well as tents and blankets, but still struggling to reach many people in need.

The disaster has added to the suffering in a region gripped by Syria’s 12-year civil war, which has displaced millions of people inside the country and left them dependent on aid. The fighting forced millions more to seek refuge in Turkey.

The conflict has isolated many areas of Syria and complicated efforts to get aid. The United Nations said On Friday, the first aid convoy for earthquake victims crossed from Turkey to northwestern Syriathe day after the arrival of the aid shipment scheduled for the disaster.

The UN refugee agency estimates that 5.3 million people are homeless in Syria. Sivanka Dhanapala, UNHCR’s representative in Syria, told reporters on Friday that the agency is focusing on providing tents, plastic sheeting, thermal blankets, sleeping mats and winter clothing.

President Bashar Assad and his wife visited earthquake victims at a hospital in the coastal city of Latakia, a base of support for the Syrian leader.

Syrian state television reported that Assad and his wife Asma on Saturday morning visited 60-year-old Duhu Nurala and her 22-year-old son Ibrahim Zakaria, five years old, who were pulled alive from the rubble of a building in the nearby coastal town of Jable the night before. days after the earthquake.

A day earlier, Assad visited the northern city of Aleppo.

Shaheen reported from Latakia, Syria. Fraser reported from Ankara. Contributed by Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Hayt al-Sayed in Bab al-Hawa, Syria.

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