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Miracle rescues as Turkey-Syria quake deaths pass 28,000

KAHRAMANMARAS, TURKEY: Rescuers pulled a two-month-old baby and an elderly woman from the rubble on Saturday, five days after an earthquake devastated Turkey and Syria leaving more than 28,000 dead.

But security concerns led some aid operations to be suspended, and 48 people have been arrested for looting or trying to defraud victims in the aftermath of the quake in Turkey, state media reported.

Tens of thousands of rescue workers are still scouring through flattened neighbourhoods despite freezing weather that has deepened the misery of millions now in desperate need of aid.

In the midst of destruction and despair, miraculous tales of survival continue to emerge.

“Is the world there?” asked 70-year-old Menekse Tabak as she was pulled out from the concrete in the southern city of Kahramanmaras – the epicentre of Monday’s 7.8-magnitude tremor – to applause and cries praising God, according to a video on state broadcaster TRT Haber.

In the city of Antakya, a two-month-old baby was found alive 128 hours after the quake, state news agency Anadolu reported.

A two-year-old girl, a six-month pregnant woman, and a four-year-old and her father were among those rescued five days after the quake, Turkish media reported.

In southern Turkey, families clutched each other in grief at a cotton field transformed into a cemetery, with an endless stream of bodies arriving for swift burial.

“There is chaos, rubble and bodies everywhere,” he said. His group had worked overnight trying to reach a university teacher calling to them from the rubble. But by morning she had stopped responding to them, he said.

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