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2 women 70-years-old & another 50 rescued 5 days after Turkey earthquake as death toll nears 25,000

Rescuers in Turkey pulled two women from the rubble of collapsed buildings after they were trapped for 122 hours following the region’s deadliest quake in two decades.

The news comes as the death toll exceeded 24,150 across southern Turkey and northwest Syria, less than a day after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said authorities should have reacted faster to Monday’s huge earthquake.

One of the women, Menekse Tabak, 70, was seen wrapped in a blanket while rescuers in Antakya carried her to a waiting ambulance.

The city of Kahramanmaras was close to the epicentre of the first quake on Monday, which measured 7.8 on the Richter Scale.

The other was an injured 55-year-old, identified as Masallah Cicek, who was rescued from beneath the debris of a collapsed building in Diyarbakir, the largest city in southeast Turkey.

Sixty-seven people have been clawed from the rubble in the past 24 hours, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told reporters overnight, in efforts that drew in 31,000 rescuers across the affected region.

About 80,000 people were being treated in hospital, while 1.05 million have been left homeless by the quakes and are taking refuge in temporary shelters, he added.

‘Our main goal is to ensure that they return to a normal life by delivering permanent housing to them within one year, and that they heal their pain as soon as possible,’ Oktay said.

With many left short of food in bleak winter conditions, questions are mounting for leaders of both countries over their response.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made his first reported trip to affected areas since the quake, visiting a hospital in Aleppo with his wife Asma, state media said.

His government approved deliveries of humanitarian aid across the front lines of the country’s 12-year civil war, a move that could speed help for millions of desperate people.

Earlier, the World Food Programme said it was running out of stocks in rebel-held northwest Syria as the state of war complicated relief efforts.

Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake, with several powerful aftershocks across Turkey and Syria, ranks as the seventh-deadliest natural disaster this century, exceeding Japan’s 2011 tremor and tsunami, and approaching the 31,000 killed by a quake in neighbouring Iran in 2003.


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