IZMIR, Turkey – A young girl was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in the western Turkish city of Izmir, more than 90 hours after a deadly earthquake that left at least 113 people dead.
Rescuers heard Ayda Gezgin screaming under the rubble and managed to free her hours later, getting her out on a stretcher as emergency crews continued to search for survivors in five destroyed buildings.
As the child emerged from the rubble, covered in dust but unharmed, a rescuer hugged and kissed her, and some called her “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest). There was applause when the young girl, whose age was variously given as three or four, was carried away on a stretcher.
“She smiled, she was waiting for us,” said Levent Onur, one of the rescuers who pulled Ayda out, adding that the child had been trapped behind a washing machine which protected her from injury.
“The name of our miracle after 91 hours is Ayda. Thank God, ”tweeted Minister Murat Kurum.
The Home Office later said Ayda’s mother was found dead by rescuers shortly after her child was rescued.
Deputy Health Minister Muhammet Guven told reporters at the hospital where Ayda was taken that the child was in good health and was receiving treatment.
Friday’s earthquake in the Aegean Sea was the deadliest to strike Turkey in nearly a decade, with 111 people killed in Izmir and two teenagers on the Greek island of Samos, according to the Turkish Authority for disaster and emergency management (AFAD)
The earthquake injured 1,035 people, 137 of whom are still being treated in Izmir, AFAD said. More than 4,600 tents and 17,000 beds are being used for temporary shelters in Turkey, where relief has attracted nearly 8,000 people and 25 rescue dogs, the agency said.
The Istanbul-based Kandilli Institute said Friday’s earthquake had a magnitude of 6.9. There were 1,621 aftershocks, according to AFAD.
Turkey is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. More than 500 people were killed in a 2011 earthquake in the eastern city of Van, while another in January this year killed 41 people in the eastern province of Elazig.
In 1999, two powerful earthquakes killed 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. AFAD said Friday’s earthquake had a magnitude of 6.6. – Reporting by Daren Butler, Tuvan Gumrukcu and Yesim Dikmen; Editing by Dominic Evans, Raissa Kasolowsky and Tom Brown