Turkey earthquake: Death toll rises over 500


A homeless survivor walks by a collapsed building in Ercis.


Dimitar Dilkoff

The latest figures from Turkey's disaster committee put the death toll at 534, with 2,300 injured, the Associated Press reports. Hundreds of people are still missing.

A total of 185 people have so far been pulled from the rubble alive, including two teachers and a university student rescued on Wednesday, reports Reuters.

The search for survivors continues in some areas, but in others, including Van city, rescuers have abandoned hope of finding people alive.

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Many of those who have survived have been left sleeping in makeshift shelters after the 7.2-magnitude quake destroyed their homes.

Prefabricated houses donated by Israel have begun to arrive in Van, according to the New York Times.

Other survivors have been queuing for tents from relief organisations. Some 20,000 tents had been handed out as of Wednesday.

There have been pleas for more temporary accomodation as the weather turns colder, MSNBC News reports:

Some blamed the ruling AK party for a slow response and accused officials of handing aid to supporters, after standing in long lines only to be told there were no tents left. Others said profiteers were hoarding tents and reselling them.

Many people are asking for tents despite having undamaged homes to go to, according to Van's Governor Munir Karalogu, who says that people are so terrified of aftershocks that they prefer to sleep outside.

Another 5.4-magnitude quake hit the region early Thursday, but is not reported to have caused any more damage.

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Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that shoddy construction had contributed to the high casualty toll from the disaster, reports CBS News:

"When we look at the wreckage, we see how the material used is of bad quality. We see that people pay the price for concrete that virtually turned to sand, or for weakened concrete blocks on the ground floors.

"Municipalities, constructors and supervisors should now see that their negligence amounts to murder.

"Despite all previous disasters, we see that the appeals were not heeded."

The quake destroyed some 2,000 buildings.

More from GlobalPost: Photos: Hundreds dead in Turkey earthquake