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Teen pulled from quake rubble in Turkey

Rescuers in Turkey pulled a 13-year-old boy alive from the rubble of a collapsed apartment building early Friday, more than 100 hours after a massive earthquake .
/ Source: news services

Rescuers, working under floodlights, pulled a 13-year-old boy alive from the rubble of a collapsed apartment building early Friday, more than 100 hours after a massive earthquake leveled many buildings in eastern Turkey, killing at least 570 people.

A picture by the state-run Anatolia news agency showed a rescue team carrying, Ferhat Tokay, out of the debris, wearing a neck brace. In other pictures from a field hospital, he appeared conscious and looking at his rescuers.

Tokay's rescue came 108 hours after Sunday's 7.2-magnitude earthquake, the agency said.

The agency said the boy was injured but did not give further details. The collapsed building from which Tokay was rescued was in Ecris, the town worst hit by the quake.

In addition to the dead, the temblor injured 2,300 others, according to the country's disaster management, AFAD, website updated Thursday evening. Thousands of homeless in tents were struggling in the bitter cold as rain and snow brought on more hardship.

Television footage on Thursday showed a rescue team cheering and clapping as another young man, wearing a red sweater and strapped to a stretcher, was also carried out of the debris. His eyes were shut most of the time, but he opened them at one point.

The Anatolia agency identified the man as 18-year-old Imdat Padak. He was rescued by an Azerbaijani crew.

Rescue workers carry 18-year-old male survivor named Imdat from a collapsed building after surviving for more than 100 hours, in Ercis, October 27, 2011.Osman Orsal / X02255

Padak was flown to the nearby city of Van and was dehydrated, but in good condition, according to the news agency.

Emergency officials said 187 have been rescued from the rubble. About 2,000 buildings have been destroyed and authorities declared another 3,700 buildings unfit for habitation.

More aid began to reach survivors, with Turkish authorities delivering more tents after acknowledging distribution problems that included aid trucks being looted even before they reached Ercis.

Families who did snag precious aid tents shared them with others. But 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.

Some blamed the ruling AK party for a slow response and accused officials of handing aid to supporters, after standing in long lines only to be told there were no tents left. Others said profiteers were hoarding tents and reselling them.

"Everyone is getting sick and wet. We have been waiting in line for four days like this and still nothing. It gets to our turn and they say they have run out," said Fetih Zengin, 38, a real estate agent whose house was badly damaged in Ercis, a town of 100,000 that was hardest hit by Sunday's quake.

"We slept under a piece of plastic erected on some wood boards we found. We have 10 children in our family, they are getting sick. Everyone needs a tent, snow is coming. It's a disaster."

Ergun Ozmen, 37, was carrying loaves of bread after queuing for food. "People are taking 10 tents and selling them. It's a disgrace. I slept in the municipal park all night in the rain. My shoes are filled with water. I only registered to get a tent this morning as I have been busy burying the dead," he said.

Looking ahead, Turkey's weather agency predicted intermittent snowfall for the next three days.

Foreign assistance 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.

Saudi King Abdullah ordered a $50 million donation to help Turkey deal with the aftermath of the quake, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Syrians who had fled across the border to Turkey to escape violence in their homeland donated blood for the injured, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Search and rescue operations ended in the provincial capital of Van, state-run TRT television said. But searchers in bright orange raincoats continued digging through debris in Ercis, 55 miles (90 kilometers) to the north.

They pulled out the bodies of 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 Wednesday. One of the teachers later died in the hospital.

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.

The region has been rocked by hundreds of aftershocks. On Thursday, a 5.4-magnitude tremor hit the neighboring province of Hakkari, sending people rushing out of buildings in panic. No damage was reported but NTV television said some people were slightly injured trying to escape through windows.

Turkish television stations, meanwhile, organized a joint aid telethon that brought in just under 62 million Turkish Lira ($37 million).