Although more survivors were found, the death toll rose to 35,000 as more bodies were found in the rubble.
ANTAKYA, Hatay — Rescuers worked Tuesday to reach people buried under rubble in three provinces hit hard by devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria last week.
The death toll from the 7.8-magnitude and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes that struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, nine hours apart, has passed 35,000 and is likely to rise as search teams find more bodies.
Turkish television continued to broadcast rescues on Tuesday as experts said the search for survivors was closing.
In Adiaman province, rescuers reached 18-year-old Muhammed Kafer Cetin and medics put him on a drip of fluids before attempting a dangerous extraction from a building that was collapsing further as rescuers worked. Paramedics surrounded him to put a neck brace on him and he was on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and came into the light at the 199th hour. “We are very happy,” his uncle said.
Two others were rescued from a single building that collapsed in central Kahramanmaras, near the epicenter, on Tuesday, about 198 hours after the quake. Broadcaster Haberturk reported that one of them was 17-year-old Muhammed Enes, who was seen wrapped in a thermal blanket and brought to an ambulance on a stretcher. Dozens of rescuers worked on the scene, while Turkish soldiers hugged and clapped after their rescue.
The rescuers then asked for silence to continue searching for others and shouted, “Can anyone hear me?”
The state of health of the rescued is unknown.
In extremely affected Hatay, Sengul Abalioglou lost her old sister and four nephews. “It doesn’t matter if they’re alive or dead, we just want our corpses to at least have a grave and we buried them,” she told The Associated Press, devastated as she waited in front of the rubble where her family might be. .
In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to open two new crossings from Turkey into the rebel-held northwest to deliver much-needed aid and equipment to millions of earthquake victims, the United Nations announced on Monday. The crossing points at Bab al-Salaam and Al Rai will be open for an initial period of three months. Until now, the UN has only been allowed to deliver aid to the Idlib area through a single crossing at Bab Al-Hawa.
The United Nations has been under intense pressure to deliver more aid and heavy equipment to rebel-held northwest Syria after an earthquake a week ago left survivors with no means to search for others who survived and the death toll is rising.
The first Saudi aid plane carrying 35 tons of food landed at Aleppo’s government-controlled airport early Tuesday, Syrian state media reported. Saudi Arabia has raised about $50 million in a public campaign to help Turkey and Syria. By Tuesday, Saudi planes had landed in Turkey and Saudi trucks had also delivered some aid to impoverished rebel-held northwest Syria.
Several other Arab countries have sent aid planes to government-held Syria, including Jordan and Egypt, the United Arab Emirates. Algeria, Iraq, Oman, Tunisia, Sudan and Libya also delivered aid to Damascus.
Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said late Monday that rescue efforts were continuing in Hatay province, as well as in Kahramanmaras, the epicenter, and Adiaman. Rescue efforts appear to have ended in the remaining seven provinces.
The earthquake affected 10 provinces in Turkey, home to about 13.5 million people, as well as a large area in northwestern Syria, home to millions of people.
Earthquake survivors also face dire conditions amid the devastated cities, with many sleeping outdoors in the freezing weather. Much of the region’s water system is out of service, and damage to the system increases the risk of contamination. Turkey’s health minister said samples taken from dozens of points in the water supply system were “microbiologically unfit”, underscoring how fragile basic needs remain.
More than 41,500 buildings were destroyed or damaged enough to require demolition, the Minister of Environment and Urbanization said. Bodies lie beneath these buildings and the number of missing remains unclear.
Many in Turkey blame faulty construction for the massive destruction, and authorities have continued targeting contractors allegedly related to buildings that collapsed. Turkey has introduced building codes that meet seismic engineering standards, but experts say the codes are rarely enforced.
The number of dead in Turkey on Monday was 31,643. Officials have reduced the frequency of updating the death toll since the first week of the response, now issuing larger updates once or twice a day.
The death toll reached 2,166 in the rebel-held northwestern region, according to the White Helmets rescue group, while 1,414 died in government-held areas, according to Syria’s Health Ministry in Damascus. The total number of dead in Syria is 3,580.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cabinet was scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday.
Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul. Karim Chehaib contributed from Beirut and Edith M. Lederer from New York.