Quake rescuers are hampered by lack of equipment

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The Independent Online

Thousands of people are working to save survivors from the devastating earthquake in eastern Turkey, despite rescue efforts being hindered by serious shortcomings in equipment.

As the death toll in Van province climbed to 265, with 1,140 injured, rescue teams described hearing calls for help from beneath the rubble from victims who they were unable to reach.

"We can't get to survivors fast enough," one rescue team member said. In Ercis, a town of about 75,000 near the Iranian border, said to have been hit hardest by Sunday's earthquake, it was reported that rescuers only had access to one device for detecting survivors under rubble.

"We have to yell in buildings to see if anyone is there," one worker told the Hurriyet Daily News.

There were also reports that many villages in the surrounding area had been left without assistance, although that claim was denied by the Deputy Prime Minister, Besir Atalay.

An official at the Ercis municipality told i that the town urgently needed supplies if it was to prevent more deaths. "We need blood [for the injured] and machinery to break the concrete to search for survivors faster," said Mustafa Aratoglu. He said the town also needed generators and batteries.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake, six miles underground, has knocked down 970 buildings in total. It is expected that the death toll will rise as teams reach outlying areas.

One 13-year-old boy was pulled out from under a concrete slab, after crying out for help with the lifeless hand of an adult resting on his shoulder (see picture). He was one of two children rescued.

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