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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Quake survivors describe ordeal
Child being rescued from the rubble of the school
Children have been brought out of the debris alive

The earthquake which hit eastern Turkey early on Thursday is thought to have killed more than 100 people, but some survivors are being pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The most dramatic scenes came from a school dormitory in the village of Celtiksuyua, 12 kilometres (seven miles) from the provincial capital Bingol, where children were brought out alive from the wreckage.

State television broadcast footage of a soldier carrying a boy out of the rubble shouting "Baba!" (father) amid cheers from onlookers.

But the cries of others were still heard inside the building, and relatives who attempted to join the search were held back by troops.

"I didn't understand what happened. I saw the ceiling coming toward me," 11-year-old Mustafa Gunala told the Turkish Anatolia news agency.

The whole building was on top of me, we all started screaming
Naim Gencgul

"The caretaker of the school used the broken railings of the staircase to pull me out."

Naim Gencgul, 15, was pulled out of the rubble with a broken arm.

"The whole building was on top of me," he said. "We all started screaming."

"My friends were asking me to help them as I was being pulled out. They are still inside. Save them!" said 12-year-old Veysel Dagdeviren who also suffered a broken arm.

'Terrible construction'

The disaster prompted Gunala's father Abdullah to question the quality of construction of the school.

"The stable I built did not collapse, but the school did," he said.

I saw everything with my own eyes - the door, the windows and the lamp were shaking

"We never expected something like this would happen. We sent our kids here because there are no cars in our village," said Sami Gencgul, Naim's brother, whose 14-year-old son Muslum was among the missing.

"Nobody ever learned their lessons," said Bingol resident Nazim Karabulut, who described the school as a "terrible construction".

Waiting in the cold

Elsewhere in Bingol, people were forced to leave their houses when the earthquake struck.

"The quake hit us. I was afraid. I was alone," one eyewitness told the television.

"I got up and escaped from the house... I saw everything with my own eyes. The door, the windows and the lamp were shaking."

Another said people had to wait out in the cold until it was safe to go back inside.

"We suddenly found ourselves on the floor," he said.

"It was a very strong quake... Naturally, we were excited. It happened while we were sleeping.

"It is good though, we went out into the street. We are waiting, we are waiting in the street to be on the safe side. The weather is cold."

The effects of the earthquake were felt for miles around.

"We woke at exactly half past with everything in the house shaking, from the pictures to the windows in their frames," said a resident of Diyarbakir, some 115km south of the epicentre.

The BBC's Tim Willcox
"Plucked from the rubble and alive"

Children trapped in Turkey quake
01 May 03  |  Europe
Clues to future tremors
06 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature
Deadly history of earthquakes
24 Feb 03  |  In Depth
Quake hits eastern Turkey
27 Jan 03  |  Europe


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