Six-year-old girl found alive after 178 hours under rubble in Antakya

Six-year-old girl found alive after 178 hours under rubble in Antakya

Rescuers pulled a six-year-old girl from the rubble of a collapsed building in Antakya on Monday, one of the cities hit worst by the February 6 earthquake that is now feared to have killed up to 50,000 people across Turkey and Syria.

The rescue of the girl, identified only as Miray, 178 hours after the disaster struck a week ago, is considered extraordinary because the chances of finding survivors drops every 24 hours, experts say.

She was one of two found alive under rubble in Antakya after a joint team from Turkey and Oman rescued a woman identified as Serap Donmez, according to Turkey’s TRT media channel.

Emergency services were reportedly still trying to find Miray’s sister, feared to be trapped nearby.

Experts say the chances of anyone being found alive drops to less than 10 per cent after five days trapped in rubble. Freezing weather in the earthquake-hit area has made the chances of finding survivors even slimmer.

Antakya, a multicultural city rich in heritage and once home to about 200,000 residents, has been flattened by the disaster, The National’s Nada Maucourant Attallah reported last week.

The UN’s humanitarian response co-ordinator Martin Griffiths said on Monday that the rescue phase was coming to a close and that the focus would turn to providing shelter, sanitation, food, medical supplies and drinking water to survivors, as well as continuing efforts to make quake-damaged areas safer.

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