Four-year-old girl rescued 91 hours after Turkey quake

A four-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building 91 hours after a powerful earthquake hit western Turkey, as the death toll rose to 100 on Tuesday, said the local mayor.

“We have witnessed a miracle in the 91st hour,” Izmir mayor Tunc Soyer tweeted. “Rescue teams pulled out four-year-old Ayda alive. Along with the great pain we have experienced, we have this joy as well.”

The girl was seen being taken into an ambulance, wrapped in a thermal blanket, amid the sounds of applause and chants of “God is great!” from rescue workers and onlookers.

Rescuer Nusret Aksoy told reporters that he heard a child scream before locating the girl next to a dishwasher. He said Ayda waved at him, told him her name and said that she was OK.

Her rescue came a day after a three-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl were also pulled out alive from collapsed buildings in Izmir.

It added that rescue workers in Izmir province were continuing to search in five buildings for an unknown number of missing individuals.

More than 3,500 tents and 13,000 beds are being used for temporary shelters in Turkey, where relief efforts have drawn in nearly 8,000 personnel and 25 rescue dogs, the agency said.

The worst-hit Turkish town was Bayrakli in Izmir, where there was a mixture of celebration and sadness on Monday after a three-year-old girl named Elif Perincek and a 14-year-old named Idil Sirin were rescued from the rubble.

But both lost a sibling each to the disaster which struck on Friday afternoon in the Aegean Sea.

Two teenagers on their way home from school were also killed in neighbouring Greece.

After dozens of buildings were damaged and the risk of repeated tremors, thousands of residents were forced to spend the fourth night in tents in Izmir.

Rescuers carry 4-year-old Ayda Gezgin out from a collapsed building as operations take place on-site after an earthquake struck the Aegean Sea [Reuters]

The earthquake is the deadliest in Turkey this year after another disaster hit the eastern provinces of Elazig and Malatya in January, killing more than 40 people.

Turkey is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. More than 500 people were killed in a 2011 quake in the eastern city of Van, while another in January this year killed 41 people in the eastern province of Elazig.

In 1999, two powerful quakes killed 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey.

Regulations have been tightened to strengthen or demolish buildings and urban renewal is under way in Turkish cities, but it is not happening fast enough.

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