Despair grows among victims in earthquake zone as rescue efforts fall short

Despair grows among victims in earthquake zone as rescue efforts fall short
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Desperate victims report hearing their families' voices under the rubble but not having the means to reach them

Earthquake victims made desperate appeals to authorities for help Tuesday, while overwhelmed rescue workers struggled to save people trapped under the rubble.

In the city of Antakya near the Syrian border, where 10-story buildings had collapsed onto the streets, journalists saw rescue work being conducted on one out of dozens of piles of rubble.

The temperature was close to freezing as the rain came down and there was no electricity or fuel in the city.

One resident, who gave his name as Deniz, wept in the rain and wrung his hands in despair.

"They're making noises, but no one is coming," he told Reuters. "We're devastated, we're devastated. My God ... They're calling us. They say, 'Save us,' but we can't save them. How are we going to save them? Nobody has been there since morning."

Nurgul Atay told The Associated Press that she could hear her mother's voice beneath the rubble, but that her and others efforts to get into the ruins had been futile without any rescue teams and no heavy equipment.

“If only we could lift the concrete slab we’d be able to reach her,” she said. “My mother is 70-years-old, she won’t be able to withstand this for long.”

Ayla, standing by a pile of rubble where an eight-storey building once stood, said she had driven to Hatay from Gaziantep on Monday in search of her mother. Five or six rescuers from the Istanbul fire department were working in the ruins - a sandwich of concrete and glass.

"There have been no survivors yet. A street dog came and barked at a certain point for long, I feared it was for my mother. But it was someone else," she said.

"I turned on the lights of the car to help the rescue team. They took out only two bodies so far, no survivors.”

In areas where teams worked, occasional cheers broke out through the night as survivors were brought out of the rubble.