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A young girl has been rescued from the rubble of a block of flats in southern Turkey after being trapped for more than a week following the devastating earthquake. The rescue effort to free her was a source of relief and hope for rescuers and families of other victims still waiting for news.
The girl, Miray, was trapped in the ruins for 178 hours – over seven days – before being pulled out of the debris by emergency responders. A video of her rescue went viral, showing workers cheering and shouting “God is great” as she was lifted out of the darkness.
Miray was not the only survivor rescued on Monday. Several others were pulled from the rubble, including a 13-year-old boy who was trapped for 182 hours. However, as the death toll continues to climb above 35,000, the frequency of rescues is dwindling.
Experts have pointed out that the human body can only survive without water for a limited amount of time, which may account for the declining number of rescues. Other factors include how much air supply the trapped person has and the severity of their injuries.
According to an emergency medicine specialist interviewed by the BBC, the cold temperatures in Turkey and Syria are also a factor that can affect the survival rate of trapped victims. Extreme cold can cause blood vessels to shrink, which may help the body to survive longer, but getting too cold can be harmful in itself.
As rescue efforts continue, hopes of finding more survivors are dwindling, and the focus is shifting to recovery efforts. Officials are beginning to look at providing shelter, food, and healthcare for those who have survived. There is a sense that the rescue mission may soon come to an end, as rescuers shift their focus to the daunting task of recovery and rebuilding.
Despite the challenges, thousands of teams across the region continue to search through the remains of collapsed buildings using specialized equipment such as thermal cameras and sniffer dogs to detect signs of life. Many of these rescue teams are composed of volunteers, including coal miners who have traveled from other regions to help in the effort.
As the death toll continues to rise, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief has warned that it could double. In the meantime, Miray and the other survivors pulled from the rubble are being treated for their injuries, while their families wait for news of others still missing. The earthquake has caused widespread devastation across Turkey and neighboring Syria, and it will likely take years to recover fully from the disaster.