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Turkish rescuers battle conditions in Van

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Turkish rescuers battle conditions in Van


Delight and despair in almost equal measure in Van in southeast Turkey as rescuers battle their second earthquake in three weeks in awful conditions. The death toll now stands at 10, but 27 people have been saved.

At one point today a Japanese doctor who came to the country for the first earthquake in October was brought out of the rubble of the hotel in which he was staying. He had come halfway around the world to help others, but he died of his injuries later in hospital.

Then rescuers got a result; a 60-year old man they had been trying to reach for hours was finally brought out alive. He is expected to survive after 11 hours in the rubble. Another Japanese medical worker was also saved.

The second quake was too much for 25 buildings in all. Weakened by the October tremor, they collapsed, although most of them were empty. Many are now questioning the quality of buildings in the region, and the government inspections. The owner of one of the hotels that collapsed last night said it had been given a clean bill of health by building experts after last month’s quake.

The atmosphere in the disaster zone is worsening, with people starting to protest at the speed of the clean-up operation and the provision of emergency tents, food, and water, which they say is not happening fast enough.

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