ISKENDERUN, Turkey (AP) — Rescuers pulled several earthquake survivors from the shattered remnants of buildings, including some who lasted more than 100 hours trapped under crushed concrete after the disaster slammed Turkey and Syria and killed more than 22,000 people.
The survivors included six relatives who huddled in a small pocket under the rubble, a teenager who drank his own urine to slake his thirst and a 4-year-old boy who was offered a jelly bean to calm him down as he was shimmied out.
But the flurry of dramatic rescues — some broadcast live on Turkish television — could not obscure the overwhelming devastation of what Turkey’s president called one of the greatest disasters in his nation’s history. Entire neighborhoods of high-rise buildings have been reduced to twisted metal, pulverized concrete and exposed wires, and the magnitude 7.8 quake has already killed more people than Japan’s Fukushima earthquake and tsunami with many more bodies undoubtedly yet to be recovered and counted.
Four days after the earthquake hammered a sprawling border region that is home to more than 13.5 million people, relatives wept and chanted as rescuers pulled 17-year-old Adnan Muhammed Korkut from a basement in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicenter. He had been trapped for 94 hours, forced to drink his own urine to survive.
“Thank God you arrived,” he said, embracing his mother and others who leaned down to kiss and hug him as he was being loaded into an ambulance.
JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian plowed a car into a crowded bus stop in east Jerusalem, killing two people, including a six-year-old, and injuring five others before being shot and killed, Israeli police and medics said, the latest escalation as violence grips the contested capital.
The car-ramming took place in Ramot, a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem. Tensions have soared in the Israeli-annexed eastern half of the city, following a Palestinian shooting attack outside a synagogue on January 27th that killed seven people in the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in over a decade.
The Israeli rescue service identified the two killed as a six-year-old boy and a man in his 20s. It said medics were treating five injured, including an eight-year-old child in critical condition undergoing CPR. Others, ages ranging from 10 to 40, were in moderate to serious condition. They had been waiting at the bus stop before the car came crashing to a stop, police said.
“It was a shocking scene,” said paramedic Lishai Shemesh who happened to be driving by at the time of the attack. “I was in the car with my wife and children and noticed a car driving fast into the bus stop and crushing the people who were waiting there.”
An off-duty detective shot and killed the suspected attacker at the scene, police added, describing him as a Palestinian in his 30s from east Jerusalem. Palestinian media identified him as 32-year-old Hussein Qaraqa.
Speaking from the scene of the suspected attack, Israel’s hard-line national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, ordered police to set up checkpoints around the driver’s neighborhood of Issawiya to “check every vehicle.”
“I wanted to to create a full blockade (on the area), but there is a judicial question around it,” he added.
Israel’s largely ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, expressed shock and offered condolences to the families of the victims. “Our hearts are pained by the terrible news,” he said.
The Islamic militant groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, praised the rampage but did not immediately claim responsibility. Footage from the scene showed police and paramedics swarming a mangled blue Mazda that had slammed into the bus stop. Bodies lay strewn along the way.
TOKYO (AP) — Mountains of rubble and twisted metal. Death on an unimaginable scale. Grief. Rage. Relief at having survived.
What’s left behind after a natural disaster so powerful that it rends the foundations of a society? What lingers over a decade later, even as the rest of the world moves on?
Similarities between the calamity unfolding in Turkey and Syria and the triple disaster that hit northern Japan in 2011 may offer a glimpse of what the region could face in the years ahead. They’re linked by the sheer enormity of the collective psychological trauma of the loss of life and of the material destruction.
The combined toll of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rose past 20,000 deaths as authorities announced the discovery of new bodies. That has already eclipsed the more than 18,400 who died in the disaster in Japan.
That magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m., March 11, 2011. Not long after, cameras along the Japanese coast captured the wall of water that hit the Tohoku region. The quake was one of the biggest on record, and the tsunami it caused washed away cars, homes, office buildings and thousands of people, and caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Huge boats were dropped miles away from the ocean in the towering jumbled debris of what had once been cities, cars toppled on their sides like playthings among the ruined streets and obliterated buildings.
Many wondered if the area would ever return to what it was before.