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Lack of shelter for Turkey quake victims

Turkey was struggling to provide shelter yesterday for tens of thousands of people left homeless by an earthquake that killed nearly 500, and rescue teams began taking painful decisions to call off searches for those buried alive.

Three days after the 7.2 magnitude quake shook eastern Turkey, a 27-year-old woman and an 18-year-old student were pulled alive from collapsed buildings in Ercis, the town hit hardest.

Sunday's quake has spurred the government to accept offers of tents and prefabricated houses from other countries, including Israel despite tensions between the two.

With temperatures falling and rain forecast to turn to snow this week, there were growing complaints of a lack of tents and of poor organisation.

At one warehouse in Van, about 100 people looted Red Crescent trucks carrying food, blankets, carpets and clothes. A handful of police officers appeared powerless to stop them.

"We need an order, an organisation here," one man said. "What kind of help is this? These people are looting, not receiving aid!"