In the remote province of Van in Eastern Turkey the death toll from Wednesday's (24 November) devastating earthquake continues to rise.
In the remote province of Van in Eastern Turkey the death toll from Wednesday's (24 November) devastating earthquake continues to rise. Relief officials estimate the number at 3,500 but others believe it is much higher.
SYNOPSIS: The road to Muradiye, the worst hit town in the earthquake, is dotted with villagers who stop cars and lorries to ask for shovels. They want to dig away the debris and find their dead. Houses on the high and rocky Anatolian plateau are made of mud and stones. But in many villages there are no more houses, just heaps of dirt and stones. Muradiye, a town of 6,000 people was the centre of destruction. But the scene from village to village is the same -- only the faces and the bodies are different. Snow fell on each of the two nights the villagers have spent int eh open or in makeshift camps. Temperatures have dropped to 15 degrees Celsius below zero. Rescue workers scouring the debris have already recovered more than 2,000 bodies.
Tens of thousands of people are homeless after the earthquake which measured 7.6 on the open-ended Richter scale. Another powerful earth tremor hit the province on Friday (26 November) registering 5.5 on the Richter scale. Despite an intensive relief effort, there is still little to eat or drink for the survivors. Tents, blankets, food and other supplies are beginning to flow in but relief work has been slowed by a petrol shortage among other problems. Those familiar with the area say that at this time of year heavy snow could cover it within a few days. The very young and the old could easily freeze to death.
The provincial capital of Van has become the centre for earthquake relief. The Turkish Airforce, in cooperation with the Turkish Red crescent - the equivalent of the Red Cross - is flying in supplies for the refugees. From Van the supplies are taken by road to the quake centre. The planes fly the injured tool ill to be treated in Van to other centres. International aid is pouring into Turkey but some say it may never reach the refugees in time to prevent many more deaths.