Turkey earthquake death toll rises to 523
ERCIS, Turkey (AP) — Rain and snow on Thursday compounded difficulties for thousands rendered homeless in the powerful earthquake that hit eastern Turkey, and the government said the death toll has gone up to 523.
The prime minister's center for crisis and emergency management said 1,650 people were injured and 185 were rescued from the rubble.
Turkish authorities delivered more tents after acknowledging initial problems in the distribution of aid for survivors of the 7.2-magnitude quake that shattered at least 2,200 buildings on Sunday.
Foreign assistance also began arriving after Turkey said it would accept help to house survivors through the winter. Israel, which has a troubled political relationship with Turkey, sent emergency housing units, blankets and clothing. Germany also dispatched supplies, including tent heating units. Russia and Ukraine also contributed.
Some media reports had said rescuers pulled out a 19-year-old alive from the rubble on Thursday, but Mustafa Ozden, the head of the team that brought out the young man, told The Associated Press that he was rescued on Tuesday, not Thursday.
Rain gave way to intermittent snow, deepening the hardship of thousands of people either rendered homeless in the powerful earthquake or too afraid to return indoors amid aftershocks that continued to rattle the area.
In the worst-hit city of Ercis, families who managed to obtain tents shared them with others. Some people spent a fourth night outdoors huddled under blankets in front of campfires, either waiting for news of the missing or keeping watch over damaged homes.
Sermin Yildiz, who was eight months pregnant, was with her twins and husband. They shared a tent with a family of four who were distant relatives. Her apartment in a three-story building was not damaged but the family was reluctant to return.
"It's getting colder, my kids are coughing. I don't know how long we will have to stay here," Yildiz said. "We were not able to get a tent. We are waiting to get our own."
Turkey's weather agency predicted intermittent snowfall for the next three days.
More than a dozen television stations organized a joint aid telethon, amassing just under 62 million Turkish Lira ($37 million) in aid for the region.
Searchers sifting through piles of debris recovered more bodies. They included two dead teenage sisters and their parents who were holding hands, and a mother clutching her baby boy, according to media reports.
Two teachers and a university student were rescued from ruined buildings on Wednesday, but there were no signs of survivors elsewhere and excavators were clearing debris from some collapsed buildings.