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Gönderen Konu: What British Press Says About the Quake of Van Province  (Okunma sayısı 2039 defa)

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Ekim 28, 2011, 12:32:32 ÖÖ
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The ambulance screeched to a halt outside a gymnasium requisitioned as an emergency ward in this devastated city.

Almost obscured beneath the swarm of medics who rushed inside was a tiny bundle: Azra Karaduman, 15 days old, pulled alive from the rubble more than 46 hours after an earthquake that has killed hundreds in eastern Turkey.

“We had such great happiness when we heard she was alive,” her uncle, Cengizhan, told The Times as he watched the baby sleeping in an incubator after being treated for dehydration. “We thank God for this.”

The child, her limbs wizened from lack of water, was brought to the surface by a rescue worker, Kadir Direk, who was chosen, as the smallest man on the team, to burrow into the rubble. He spoke to the exhausted mother, Seniha, 24, to keep her conscious as he dug through their crumpled home. “She replied that the baby was a girl, and that she wanted her named Azra.”

She had breastfed the child as they lay trapped. Later, crowds cheered as Ms Karaduman and the baby’s 73-year-old grandmother, Gulzade, were also brought out alive.

“After 38 hours it’s difficult to survive,” one doctor said. “We don’t think about the people who come in here. We think about the ones still trapped.” There was no sign of the baby’s father, who was believed to be trapped inside.

The child’s survival was a ray of hope for exhausted rescuers toiling in freezing cold and intermittent rain for a third night. As the official death toll from Sunday’s 7.2 magnitude quake rose to 459, with another 1,350 injured, anger was growing at the Government, which stands accused of failing to curb shoddy building standards that may have exacerbated the catastrophe.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that 2,256 buildings were destroyed in the earthquake, an increase from an earlier estimate of 970. “Hundreds, possibly thousands of people are still trapped under the rubble,” a spokeswoman said.

Turkey was given a painful reminder of the danger in 1999, when an earthquake struck the western city of Izmit, killing 18,000 people. Since then, experts have been warning that rampant illegal construction and corrupt practices could prove catastrophic. Though improved building codes were introduced, they are often ignored.

A report by a parliamentary commission last year criticised the Government for its failures to reinforce substandard buildings, punish building code violators and control development.

“Isn’t Prime Minister Erdogan going to call someone to account for the damage? Aren’t we going to learn from these events?” wrote Meral Tamer in Milliyet yesterday, echoing several columnists. “What happened in 1999 is the same in 2011,” she wrote. “Public buildings collapsing like playing cards. If we go on like this we will be saying the same in 2021 or 2031.”

Her anger was echoed by crowds of men queueing for tents outside the Ercis governor’s office. “The buildings aren’t good enough,” said Sunalp Çelik, 26, a construction worker. “When someone is putting up a building no one comes to check it.”

The problem could prove even more catastrophic if Istanbul, with its 14 million people, is hit by the major earthquake that is predicted within the next 20 years. In April, Kadir Topbas, the mayor, announced that about one million illegally constructed buildings — or 60 to 70 per cent of the city’s total building stock — were highly vulnerable. Japanese experts have predicted that 40,000 people could die.

As the rescue effort in Van and Ercis continued yesterday, analysts and commentators contrasted the swift response of emergency workers with the authorities’ chaotic and dismal actions in 1999. The Government said that emergency services from 45 towns and cities and more than 200 ambulances were deployed. The Turkish Red Crescent has sent 7,500 tents, more than 22,000 heaters and 1,000 body bags.

But with temperatures dropping below freezing, there are fears of a tent shortage, with tens of thousands of people unable or unwilling to return to their homes because of aftershocks.


thetimes.co.uk (exclusively for members)
« Son Düzenleme: Ekim 28, 2011, 12:40:12 ÖÖ Gönderen: Isis »


Ekim 28, 2011, 12:35:36 ÖÖ
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 A man sits in the debris of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Ercis on October 26, 2011
     

Alexander Christie-Miller / Gedik Bulak
October 27 2011 12:01AM

Amid chaotic scenes in the quake-struck cities of eastern Turkey, the country’s Government is increasingly being accused of botching its response to the crisis.

As Ankara reversed its controversial decision to reject foreign aid offers, it emerged that survivors had been forced to dig their dead from the rubble in villages that remained untouched by the aid effort, despite being only metres from major highways. Angry crowds have looted aid trucks, and many faced a fourth freezing night without shelter.

The officil death toll rose to 481, with more than 1,600 injured, but the Red Crescent aid organisation said that “hundreds, possibly thousands” were still trapped under the rubble.

The catastrophe risks becoming a personal embarrassment for the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sought to transform Turkey into a major regional power.

Yesterday, the normally combative Mr Erdogan admitted “failures” in the aid effort. “We accept that there were some failures within the first 24 hours,” he told party officials in Ankara.

But he denied that the problems stretched beyond failing to provide tents promptly to the tens of thousands unable to return to their homes.

In Gedik Bulak, a village about 40 miles from the city of Van, near the epicentre of the quake, The Times witnessed the devastation and the neglect that followed. Every home in the community of 2,000 was either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, according to Idris Ileri, the village headman. But it was only yesterday that emergency services arrived. “We have ten dead and 70 injured,” he said. “So far, we’ve only been given 60 tents. We need far more.”

Haydar Ileri, a 41-year-old farmer, said the quake not only destroyed his home and livelihood, but also killed his daughter. Like nearly everyone in the village, he is furious with the Government. “If they do not help, I really don’t know how I will survive. I will be homeless,” he said. In nearby Guvecli, Ahmet Yayin said: “We recovered our relatives’ bodies from the wreckage by our own means, by shovels and digging tools.”

Standing in a queue of more than 1,000 people waiting to be given tents in Ercis, Nesri Ketmen, 27, said he had been sleeping outside for three nights with only a blanket and a fire.

“Last night it was snowing,” he said. “But there is nothing we can do. And we know it is only going to get colder.” Later, many returned home after hearing that the supply of tents had run out.

Such scenes have fuelled condemnation of Ankara’s hasty decision to turn down a flood of foreign aid offers, which it reversed yesterday by issuing an international appeal. Israel is now sending prefabricated homes.

The crisis affecting the predominantly Kurdish region of Van has also exposed ugly rifts between the ethnic communities. Before the quake, many Turks were angry at last week’s assault by Kurdish rebels that killed 24 soldiers. Some commented on social media sites that the disaster was God’s “payback” for the attack.

“They are ignoring us because we are Kurds,” said Feyzullah Yildiz, a villager in Gedik Bulak. “The Government only look after their own people, we vote BDP and so they ignore us.”

Others praised the relief efforts, however, and Mr Erdogan, said yesterday: “We did not discriminate between Turks, Kurds or Zaza people . . . we said they are all our people.”

Help across divisions

· The “earthquake diplomacy” phrase was first used after quakes hit Turkey and Greece in 1999. Despite frosty relations, each sent rescue teams to help the other and it was seen to start an era of more friendly relations

· In 2003, after the earthquake in Bam, Iran, the US temporarily eased its sanctions and sent relief teams to help. It had little effect on US-Iran relations but at the time it was seen as a potential breakthrough

· After the 2008 quake in Sichuan, Beijing invited Japanese troops into China for the first time since the end of the Second World War to help with relief efforts. After the disaster in Japan this year, the Chinese authorities sent a 15-man rescue team and about £2.5 million of aid
« Son Düzenleme: Ekim 28, 2011, 12:59:08 ÖÖ Gönderen: Isis »


Ekim 28, 2011, 12:38:46 ÖÖ
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Angry survivors of the Turkish earthquake complained today of looting, profiteering and political favouritism in the aid effort.

The death toll from the quake has reached 523 and with temperatures plunging victims scrambled to secure tents amid fears that the homeless could die of exposure.

Some blamed the ruling AK party for a slow response and accused officials of giving aid to supporters, after standing in long queues for tents only to be told that there were none left.

"Everyone is getting sick and wet. We have been waiting in line for four days like this and still nothing. It gets to our turn and they say they have run out," said Fetih Zengin, 38, an estate agent from Ercis, the town of 100,000 that was hardest hit by Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake. "We slept under a piece of plastic erected on some wood boards we found. We have 10 children in our family, they are getting sick. Everyone needs a tent, snow is coming. It's a disaster."

"After 15 days, half of the people here will die, freeze to death," said Orhan Ogunc, a 37-year-old man in Guvencli, a village in the hills between Ercis and the city of Van. His family is sharing a tent with five others.

The number of injured has been put at 1,650 in Turkey's biggest quake in more than a decade.

A 19-year-old was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building as searches for survivors went on at some sites - but at others rescuers stopped work.

Many in the mainly Kurdish region complained of profiteers exploiting the distribution of food and tents.

Ergun Ozmen, 37, carrying loaves of bread after queuing for food, said: "People are taking 10 tents and selling them. It's a disgrace. I slept in the municipal park all night in the rain. My shoes are filled with water." Some Turks have criticised the government of prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, which hopes to ease relations with the Kurdish minority that dominates the region. They suggest the party is prioritising aid for public servants in the region, a charge denied by party officials.

Several countries have answered Turkey's call for help to supply tents, prefabricated housing and containers, including Israel despite bad terms between the two governments.

evening standard.co.uk


 

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