Survivors of quake which rocked Turkey and Greece hold on to hope that loved ones will be found

The death toll for Friday’s earthquake that struck Turkey and Greece has reached 39 – including two children.

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted today to announce the deaths of the two children following the disaster. Turkey has reported that at least 804 people were injured on top of the 37 fatalities there.

Here is an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the earthquake in Izmir, Turkey, from Sky’s Moscow correspondent Diana Magnay.

Dust wafts over the rubble. Every now and then rescue teams spray water on what’s left of this crumpled apartment block so their colleagues can see what they’re doing.

Bulldozers tear away at the sides, dumping debris into huge pick up trucks. Draped strangely across the twisted wire and concrete are blankets and curtains, sheets and towels – the fabric of people’s private lives strewn across the sorry remains of their homes.

Someone yells a command. “Quiet!” Everything stops.

Rescue workers are listening for signs of life. The crowd waits too. Only the sound of mobile phones cuts through. Then everything starts again. And still the anxious relatives don’t know what – if anything – the rescue teams heard.

Survivors of quake which rocked Turkey and Greece hold on to hope that loved ones will be found

63-year-old Ragip Öztürk was one of the first to be rescued, twenty minutes after the quake hit. He hid beside his fridge, which he thinks protected him when the ceiling caved in.

He tapped against metal with a pen and shouted to get attention. He was found.

His wife though is still somewhere underneath that monstrous pile of rubble. He thinks she was in the lift, heading out for a walk to the park with their niece and nephew.

They’ve been married for 40 years. “Love your spouse, enjoy life”, he says, choking on the words. “And in an earthquake, don’t panic”.

We’re told there are still 40 people trapped inside this one building. Among them are Koray Demirhan’s four nieces.

They’re only little, aged between two and eleven. His sister, their mother, weeps nearby.

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Survivors of quake which rocked Turkey and Greece hold on to hope that loved ones will be found

Other relatives with tear-streaked faces sit wrapped in blankets in a neighbouring cafe which is handing out food and drinks for free. Aid workers bring round soup, water, coffee and pastries.

Izmir’s mayor says 20,000 of the local boyoz speciality were baked overnight for the relief efforts. They’re even offered to journalists and they’re delicious. The community is in this together, everyone mingling, watching, helping and hoping.

Turkey has long experience of earthquakes. Esref Bati has lived through a few but he says this one was the biggest he remembers.

He is in a wheelchair and only has one leg. It must be scary to be that immobile during an earthquake. He was in hospital having dialysis at the time and screamed to be taken out.

The nurses hoisted him out of bed and to the street. “There’s no way it was just a 6 magnitude quake”, he says. “It was far bigger”.

His generation remember well the earthquake in 1999 in Izmit which killed at least 17,000 people. Turkey lies on major fault lines and geologists warn that a major quake in Istanbul is only a matter of time.

But the Turks must live with it, hoping that the walls around them are earthquake-proof. The rubble I’m looking at suggests that plenty are not.

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