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Turkish Rescuers Pull Girl from Collapsed Building 4 Days After Earthquake


    03 November 2020

    Rescuers in the Turkish city of Izmir have pulled a young girl out alive from the remains of a collapsed housing complex.

    The rescue came Tuesday, four days after a strong earthquake hit Turkey and Greece and as people were losing hope of reaching survivors. The girl was taken to a hospital in an emergency vehicle. Sounds of cheering and shouts of "God is great!" could be heard from rescue workers and people watching nearby.

    Health Minister Fahrettin Koca identified the girl on Twitter as 3-year-old Ayda Gezgin. The child had been trapped inside the rubble for 91 hours. She was the 107th person to have been rescued from collapsed buildings since Friday, the day the quake struck.

    In this photo provided by the government's Search and Rescue agency AFAD, rescue workers, who were trying to reach survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building, surround Ayda Gezgin in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
    In this photo provided by the government's Search and Rescue agency AFAD, rescue workers, who were trying to reach survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building, surround Ayda Gezgin in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

    After her rescue, Ayda could be heard calling out for her mother in a video that played on television. But Ayda's mother did not survive. Her body was found in the rubble hours later. Ayda's brother and father were not inside the building at the time of the quake.

    Rescuer Nusret Aksoy told reporters he was searching through the wreckage of the building when he heard a child's scream. He then called for silence. He later found the girl in a small space next to a dishwasher. The girl waved at him, told him her name and said that she was okay, Aksoy said. "I got goose bumps and my colleague Ahmet cried," he told HaberTurk television.

    Ibrahim Topal, of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation said: "My colleague and I looked at each other like ‘Did you hear that, too?' We listened again. There was a very weak voice saying something like ‘I'm here.' Then we shut everything down, the machines, and started listening again. And there really was a voice."

    Health ministry officials said the girl was in good condition but would be kept under observation in the hospital. She asked for a special meal of meatballs and a yogurt drink on her way to the hospital, the state-operated Anadolu Agency reported.

    Another 3-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl were also pulled out alive recently from collapsed buildings in Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city. At least 111 people died in the quake. Officials said 138 survivors were still hospitalized.

    The U.S. Geological Survey reported the earthquake's strength at magnitude 7.0. Other agencies have recorded a smaller number.

    Most of the deaths and about 1,000 injuries happened in Izmir. Two people died and 19 people were injured on the Greek island of Samos, near the quake's center in the Aegean Sea.

    The quake also caused a small tsunami that hit Samos and an area of Izmir province, where one woman drowned. The shaking was felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul, as well as in Athens, Greece. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

    The quake brought down many buildings in Izmir. Officials detained nine people, including builders, for questioning over the collapse of six buildings. Turkey has a mix of older buildings and low-quality or illegally built structures that easily collapse in earthquakes.

    I'm Ashley Thompson.

    The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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    Words in This Story

    rubble –n. broken pieces of stone, brick from walls or buildings that have fallen apart

    goose bumps –n. (pl.) small bumps on the skin caused by cold, fear or a sudden feeling of excitement

    colleague –n. a person who works with you, fellow worker

    yogurt –n. a food made from milk

    aftershock –n. a small earthquake that happens after a larger one

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