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Death toll in Turkey's earthquake rises to 481

(Xinhua)

09:18, October 27, 2011

Rescuers from Azerbaijan work with Turkish rescuers on a collapsed building in Ercis, Van province, Turkey, on Oct. 26, 2011. The death toll from Sunday's powerful earthquake in southeast Turkey has risen to 481 and the number of the injured to 1,650, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Administration (AFAD) said Wednesday. (Xinhua/Ma Yan)

ANKARA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Sunday's powerful earthquake in southeast Turkey has risen to 481 and the number of the injured to 1,650, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Administration (AFAD) said Wednesday.

So far, 816 search and rescue members, 886 health personnel, 18 sniffer dogs, 145 ambulances including seven ambulance planes, 11 mobile hospitals, more than 18,000 tents, 95 mobile toilets, 60 prefabricated huts, over 84,000 blankets, 1,130 quilts and 36 mobile kitchens have been dispatched to the quake zone, according to a statement released by the AFAD.

Rescuers pulled a 25-year-old school teacher named Seniye Erdem out of a ruined building three days after the devastating earthquake struck the eastern province of Van, local NTV reported Wednesday. Around the same time, rescue workers also saved another teacher.

Erdem was the third person that came out alive from under the wreckage Wednesday. An 18-year-old university student was rescued from the debris earlier that day.

On Wednesday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) that his government had exhibited some failures in response to the earthquake on the first day, but he also criticized the media for accusing the government of being late in reaching out to quake victims.

"I admit that we failed in the beginning within the first 24 hours. But this is normal. This happens all around the world," Erdogan said, adding that the situation now is almost completely under control.

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake, which occurred Sunday afternoon, led to the collapse of about 80 multi-story buildings in Ercis, a town of 75,000 people close to the Iranian border. The region is among Turkey's most earthquake-prone zones.

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