Racing against time to find survivors

Rescue teams in Turkey, Syria frantically searching amid the rubble, under terrible conditions

Racing against time to find survivors

Rescue teams were making desperate efforts on Tuesday amid terribly adverse conditions to find survivors under the rubble left behind by Monday’s successive massive earthquakes centered near Turkey’s border with Syria. 

Rain during the day and freezing temperatures at night, the destroyed road network and, in the case of Syria, the pre-existing problems created by the prolonged civil war, are making it very difficult for international humanitarian aid to arrive in time.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces struck by the earthquake, as Turkish authorities said some 13.5 million citizens were affected over an area stretching 450 kilometers along the west-east axis (from Adana to Diyarbakir) and 300 kilometers along the north-south axis (from Malatya to Hatay).

The state of emergency is expected to last for three months (i.e. until the eve of the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections), but may be extended.


Meanwhile, Kathimerini’s correspondent Manolis Kostidis reports utter destruction from Antakya – which is the historic city of Antioch.

“The Antakya you knew does not exist,” local residents told him, as hundreds of buildings have collapsed. 

There is no electricity, no gas supply, while most of the rescue efforts amid the debris are being carried out by the citizens themselves.

In the city center of Antakya, at least 50% of the buildings have collapsed and the rest have been badly damaged.

“We walked through the streets of the city and when we said we were journalists, the residents begged us to inform the authorities that under the rubble of their houses there were relatives and friends. Others told us to help them find food. On the outskirts of the city people were lighting fires to keep warm and waiting for the state authorities to help them,” Kostidis reported.

“From the moment we started our journey from Adana to Antakya we realized that the situation in the area was worse than we had heard and imagined,” he said, noting that the highway connecting the two cities was severely damaged in three places. 

He also reported that dozens of trucks were carrying excavators, while many ambulances with their sirens on were trying to overtake the vehicles on the jammed roads. 


Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.