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Five more rescued from rubble in Turkey

Rescuers pulled five more people out of building rubble as they search for survivors in Turkey.

Rescuers pulled five more people out of building rubble as they search for survivors in Turkey. Photo: AAP

Three women and two children were pulled from rubble in Turkey even as hopes to find survivors from last week’s devastating earthquake dwindled and the focus switched to giving survivors some relief.

Rescuers could be seen applauding and embracing each other in a video posted to social media on Wednesday as an ambulance carried away a 74-year-old woman rescued after more than nine days trapped in rubble.

Earlier in the day, a 46-year-old woman was rescued in the same city, close to the epicentre of the quake.

Later on Wednesday a woman named Ela and her children Meysam and Ali were pulled from the rubble of an apartment block in Antakya, 228 hours after the earthquake, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria has climbed over 41,000, and millions are in need over humanitarian aid, with many survivors having been left homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures. Rescues are now few and far between.

In hard-hit Kahramanmaras, where the earthquake forced hundreds of families to live in tents erected in a stadium in freezing temperatures, empty buildings with their walls ripped open showed the power of the earthquake.

With much of the region’s sanitation infrastructure damaged or rendered inoperable by the earthquakes, health authorities face a daunting task in trying to ensure that survivors now remain disease-free.

“We haven’t been able to rinse off since the earthquake,” said Mohammad Emin, a 21-year-old graphic design student, as he carried flu medicine from the clinic of the city’s open-air stadium.

Meanwhile, the government encouraged people to go back home, if and when authorities have deemed their building safe.

Across the border, in Syria, relief efforts have been hampered by a civil war that has splintered the country and divided regional and global powers.

Civil war enmities have obstructed at least two attempts to send aid across frontlines into the hard-hit northwest, but an aid convoy reached the area overnight.

Organised by Arab tribes, trucks loaded with blankets, food, medical supplies and tents arrived overnight in the insurgent-held rebel northwest from a region controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, a Reuters witness saw.

Parts of the provinces of Idlib and adjacent Aleppo held by Turkey-backed rebels suffered the bulk of the quake’s casualties in Syria: over 4,400 of a death toll of more than 5,800, according to the United Nations and government authorities.

Hassan Mohamed, a civil defence volunteer, said that while efforts to find survivors in the most badly hit areas in northwest Syria had finished, rescue workers were still deploying in response to reports of people missing. “We are also going to areas where there has been no internet,” he said.

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