| 3 February 2023, Friday |

Twenty one survive building collapse in Turkey, no deaths recorded

The government reported that twenty-one people survived being buried under heavy debris when a two-story building collapsed in eastern Turkey, with no fatalities reported as search operations ended early Wednesday.

The incident happened Tuesday afternoon on a busy street in Malatya, as residents were walking home from work.

“The search and rescue operation in the collapsed Malatya building has concluded.” “Thank God, no one has been killed,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted early Wednesday.

Earlier, Ismail Catakli, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said that rescue workers had pulled 13 people from the rubble, while eight others had escaped on their own.

Five of those rescued were still in the hospital, but their injuries were not life-threatening, according to regional governor Aydin Barus.

He had previously stated that two people had been taken to intensive care.

CCTV footage of the collapse showed the building suddenly collapsing and erupting in a massive cloud of dust. A car parked in front of the building sped away, while onlookers rushed to aid those trapped beneath the rubble.

According to witnesses and media reports, the building collapsed during planned renovation work, causing damage to one of the walls separating two of the ground floor restaurants.

“I first heard a crack, and then the building collapsed.” A cloud of dust arose. Turhan Cobanoglu, a witness, told HaberTurk television that it felt like “judgment day.”

According to the Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency, 260 rescue workers were dispatched to the scene, which was lit up to allow efforts to continue into the night.

Rescuers were seen on television using construction diggers and their bare hands to clear out the heavy slabs of concrete and wood mounds.

The cause of the collapse was unknown, but Barus blamed it on the building’s construction.

The building’s owner and three workers were arrested, according to Malatya’s prosecutor’s office.

This year, Turkey has been rocked by a series of disasters, including a wave of wildfires and two flash floods, which have claimed 100 lives.

When it was revealed in August that Turkey no longer had operational firefighting planes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced intense political pressure.

The deadly flash floods destroyed homes in mountain valleys, raising questions about why officials approved building permits in areas prone to violent weather events.

According to Erdogan’s office, the Turkish leader also called the local governor and mayor to get a personal update on the rescue efforts.

  • AFP