Miracles few and far between as search for life after earthquake becomes bid to honour dead


The miracles are becoming few and far between – the search for life is now a bid to honour the dead.

The number of deaths is still rising rapidly and the United Nations says it’s likely to be double the current figure of 33,000.

Countless bodies are still trapped under the wreckage of their former homes.

Disaster has ‘overwhelmed everyone’ – earthquake latest

Those that are not identified are buried in a mass grave and many families are guarding sites, seven days on, to ensure their loved ones don’t get lost in the chaos.

Syrian student Mohamed Kenno is still looking for more cousins.

Fadeela, the eldest sister of three, is still buried under their building.

Her two sisters were found two days ago while we watched. One was found dead and the youngest, Sham, died later in the hospital after a glimmering moment of survival.

Mohamed is looking for another cousin, a three-year-old, under the neighbouring building.

The choking smell of decomposing corpses fills the air as the search continues.

The masks worn by rescue workers protect from the scent as well as the rising dust.

A woman stands surrounded the rubble in Kahramanmaras
A woman stands surrounded by rubble
People walking through what is left of Kahramanmaras in Turkey
People walking through what is left of Kahramanmaras in Turkey
The scenes of devastation in Kahramanmaras, Turkey
A digger claws through the wreckage

“We have to endure this smell during our search. It’s hard for them,” says Mohamed.

“This is the smell of swelling bodies in the sun for seven days – and this is why we need to honour the dead with a burial.”

The digger claws through the TV room where his three-year-old cousin, Ainoor, was said to be sleeping.

Her entire family were pulled out alive and are waiting in a nearby mosque for the news.

The entire section is ripped apart and a girl’s blanket emerges and then her shoe. But she’s nowhere to be found.

Read more:
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Devastation from above: Aerial view shows gaps where tower blocks once stood
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Mohamed will spend the coming hours and days searching for Ainoor – refusing to accept her death until he sees it with his own eyes.

When he does, he will transport her body across the border to Syria and give her the burial of her birthright.

“As Syrians, our return is to our land, our country and with our relatives,” says Mohamed.

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