Epicenter Diary: Chinese rescue team: No time to rest, keep searching

(Xinhua) 10:18, February 11, 2023

Members of the China Search and Rescue Team search for survivors trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings with their local partners in Antakya in the southern province of Hatay, Türkiye, Feb. 9, 2023. (Xinhua/Shadati)

HATAY, Türkiye, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- At 1:30 a.m. local time (1030 GMT) on Thursday, Chinese and local rescue team members stood in line and smoothly transported a stretcher by hand. On the stretcher was a pregnant woman who had just been rescued from a collapsed house.

It was not until the pregnant woman was sent to the ambulance that the rescuers were slightly relieved. They patted their colleagues on the back, sharing joy and encouraging each other.

The woman was found by Turkish rescuers in the ruins of an eight-story building in Antakya, a city in Hatay Province, one of the country's worst-hit regions, at around 6:00 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) Wednesday, said Zhao Yang, deputy leader of the Chinese rescue team.

Zhao and his teammates rushed to the scene after local rescuers contacted them. Upon arrival, they assessed the situation and then made a rescue plan with their Turkish partners.

The Chinese team also gave professional advice and provided technical equipment during the rescue operation, Zhao told reporter.

The team landed at the Adana international airport on Wednesday and arrived in Antakya after an 8,000-km flight and hours of road trip. With no time to rest, they immediately joined the rescue operation.

Members of the China Search and Rescue Team transfer a woman survivor with their local partners in Antakya in the southern province of Hatay, Türkiye, Feb. 9, 2023. (Xinhua/Shadati)

Later on Thursday, two more survivors were plucked to safety from the ruins of collapsed buildings beyond the critical 72 hours for rescue by Chinese and Turkish rescue teams.

The first young woman was got out from the ruins of a seven-story building. She was covered with blankets provided by the rescue team, wearing neck guards and looking pale. The rescue team carefully carried her into an ambulance and sent her to hospital for treatment.

In the evening, another woman was found in a basement. After unremitting efforts, the rescue team carried her out. Rescuers covered her with a special thermal film, before carefully carrying her to an ambulance.

International rescuers are racing against time to search for signs of life in quake-hit regions. Several search and rescue teams from China have arrived with rescue dogs, rescue equipment and other relief supplies to assist in the efforts.

Editor's note: A powerful earthquake struck southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria on Monday. Tens of thousands of people are confirmed dead across Türkiye and Syria, with the numbers expected to rise. The earthquake destroyed people's homes and local infrastructure. Relief items and supplies are pouring in. Search and rescue efforts are underway.

Journalists of Xinhua News Agency rushed to the epicenter and reported from the frontlines.

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Du Mingming)


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