Turkish earthquake rescue efforts go on as death toll reaches 31

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earthquake; turkey

Rescue teams in Turkey continued to pull survivors from collapsed buildings on Sunday, more than a day and a half after a powerful earthquake hit the country’s east, killing at least 31 people.

The magnitude 6.8 quake injured 1,556 people and 45 people have been pulled from the rubble so far, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

As overnight temperatures dropped to minus five C (23F), emergency teams set up more than 9,500 tents for displaced residents and distributed some 17,000 hot meals.

Rescue teams concentrated their efforts in the Mustafa Pasa area of the city of Elazig and the nearby town of Sivrice, the closest residential area to the epicentre of Friday night’s quake.

Turkish television showed Ayse Yildiz, 35, and her two-year-old daughter Yusra being saved from a collapsed apartment building in the Mustafa Pasa district. They had been trapped for 28 hours after the earthquake struck.

Nearly 600 aftershocks rocked the region as rescue teams worked. A magnitude 4.3 quake hit Puturge district in the neighbouring Malatya province on Sunday morning, AFAD said.

Friday’s main quake hit at 8.55pm local time (5.55pm GMT). Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which sits atop two major fault lines. A pair of strong earthquakes struck northwest Turkey in 1999, killing around 18,000 people.

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