Ascienden a 37 los muertos en Turquía por el terremoto en el mar Egeo

Esmirna es la ciudad con más víctimas fatales, mientras que en Grecia dos personas fallecieron en la isla de Samos. Continúan las tareas de rescate para encontrar más sobrevivientes bajo los escombros

La cifra de víctimas fatales del terremoto de 6,8 grados de magnitud, que este viernes sacudió las costas del mar Egeo, ha ascendido a 37 personas, la mayoría de ellas en Turquía, mientras continúan los trabajos de rescate bajo los escombros en la ciudad turca de Esmirna, la más afectada del país.

Además se ha atendido a 885 heridos, 743 de ellos en Esmirna, 54 en la provincia vecina de Aydin, situada al sur, y el resto en las provincias de Manisa y Balikesir, al norte y este.

En ocho de los 17 edificios derribados en los que ayer se realizaron labores de rescate, el trabajo se ha completado, pero los expertos de la Gestión de Emergencias y Desastres en Turquía (AFAD) siguen trabajando en otros nueve.

Unos 5.000 especialistas en rescate y ayuda participan en las tareas de asistencia a la población afectada, aseguró el ministro de Medio Ambiente y Urbanismo turco, Murat Kurum.

Concretamente, 2.000 profesionales y voluntarios de AFAD trabajan a contrarreloj para encontrar y rescatar sobrevivientes, mientras que otros 3.000 se ocupan de asistir a las miles de personas que han pernoctado en la calle y no pueden volver aún a sus hogares.

Los trabajos se llevan a cabo en medio de la incertidumbre sobre el número de ciudadanos que aún estarían bajo los escombros, con estimaciones que varían entre 10 y 180.

Mientras que el ministro Kurum no especificó cifras al respecto, distintas autoridades gubernamentales habían indicado esta mañana a la agencia EFE que se trata de al menos 10-12 personas, pero otras fuentes hablan de unas veinte y el alcalde de Esmirna, Tunç Soyer, comunicó a la prensa turca que podría haber hasta 180 personas atrapadas a la espera de ser encontradas.

En uno de los edificios derrumbados, el bloque de pisos Doganlar, los equipos de AFAD han contactado a una madre de 38 años y sus cuatro hijos, vivos y a la espera de ser rescatados.

Esta mañana, AFAD consiguió sacar vivo de un inmueble derribado a una adolescente de 16 años y su perro, tras 17 horas atrapados juntos entre los cascotes.

El viernes, expertos sísmicos controlaron el estado de todos los edificios públicos y hoy empezarán a revisar las viviendas de Esmirna, informó Soyer.

Las autoridades han pedido a los vecinos en varios barrios que no entren a sus casas hasta que no se certifique la ausencia de riesgos.

Desde las 11.51 GMT del mediodía del viernes, momento en el que se produjo el terremoto, se han registrado más de 400 réplicas, de las que 33 han superado los 4 grados de magnitud, según AFAD.

La más fuerte alcanzó una magnitud de 5,0 y se registró al amanecer de este sábado, a las 5.31 GMT.

El primer ministro griego, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, llamó al presidente de Turquía, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, para ofrecer sus condolencias, y ambos mandatarios se aseguraron mutuamente su disposición a enviar ayuda si fuese necesario, según manifestó el líder turco.

A pesar de que se ha sentido en toda Turquía occidental, con graves daños en edificios observados también en provincias vecinas de Esmirna, el terremoto no ha afectado a Estambul, situada a 330 kilómetros al norte, aunque algunos vecinos de la ciudad aseguran haber percibido el temblor.

CON INFORMACIÓN DE EFE

At least 37 killed in Aegean Sea earthquake that hit Turkey and Greek island

Three young children and their mother were rescued alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in western Turkey on October 31, some 23 hours after a powerful earthquake in the Aegean Sea killed at least 37 people and injured more than 800 others.

The October 30 quake that struck Turkey’s Aegean coast and north of the Greek island of Samos registered a magnitude that Turkish authorities put at 6.6 while other seismology institutes said it measured 6.9. It toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, and triggered a small tsunami in the Seferihisar district and on the Greek island. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

At least 35 people were killed in Izmir, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Among them was an elderly woman who drowned in the tsunami. But rescue teams on October 31 made contact with 38-year old Seher Perincek and her four children — ages 3, 7 and 10-year-old twins — inside a fallen building in Izmir and cleared a corridor to bring them out.

One by one, the mother and three of her children were removed from the rubble as rescuers applauded or hugged. Efforts were still underway to rescue the remaining child, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The survivors, including 10-year-old Elzem Perincek, were moved into ambulances on stretchers. “I’m fine; I was rescued because only one of my feet was pinned. That foot really hurt,” she said.

More than 5,500 rescuers from different agencies and cities worked together to reach survivors, at times hushing the crowds to listen into the rubble with sensitive headphones and crawling through the cracks. A 65-year-old man was saved 26 hours after the quake.

Earlier on October 31, search-and-rescue teams working on eight collapsed buildings lifted teenager Inci Okan out of the rubble of a devastated eight-floor apartment building. Her dog, Fistik, or Pistachio, was also rescued, Turkish media reported.

A video showed a female rescuer trying to calm down the 16-year-old girl under the rubble as she inserted a catheter. “I’m so scared,” the girl cried. “Can you hold my hand?”

“We are going to get out of here soon,” the rescuer, Edanur Dogan, said. “Your mother is waiting outside for you.”

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were brought out from the rubble of another toppled two-story building earlier on October 31.

In all, around 100 people have been rescued since the earthquake, Murat Kurum, the Environment and Urban Planning Minister, told reporters. It was unclear how many more people were trapped under buildings that were leveled.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said 885 people were injured in Izmir and three other Provinces. The Health Minister said eight people were being treated in intensive care, with three of them in critical condition.

Two teenagers were killed on the island Samos after being struck by a collapsing wall. At least 19 people were injured on the island, with two, including a 14-year-old, being airlifted to Athens and seven hospitalized on the island, health authorities said.

The small tsunami that hit the Turkish coast also affected Samos, with seawater flooding streets in the main harbour town of Vathi.

The earthquake, which the Istanbul-based Kandilli Institute said had a magnitude of 6.9, was centred in the Aegean northeast of Samos. AFAD said it measured 6.6. and hit at a depth of some 16 km.

It was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria. In Turkey, it shook the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including Istanbul.

Turkey is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece as well.

Authorities warned residents in Izmir not to return to damaged buildings, saying they could collapse in strong aftershocks. Many people spent the night out in the streets, too frightened to return to their homes, even if they sustained no damage.

The country has suffered from lightly regulated and shoddy construction which can lead to serious damage and deaths from earthquakes. Referring to the structure where the teenager and her dog were rescued, architect Nihat Sen told Turkish broadcaster NTV, “All material used on the eight-storey building was faulty. The ground was bad, the material was bad.”

In a show of solidarity rare in recent months of tense bilateral relations, Greek and Turkish government officials issued mutual messages of solidarity, and the leaders of Greece and Turkey held a telephone conversation.

“I thank President Erdogan for his positive response to my call,” the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on October 31 before travelling to Samos, where he visited the families of the teenagers who were killed. By AP