[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Survivors attack Turkey quake effort
Rescuers carry a survivor from the rubble of a collapsed school
Survivors are still being pulled from the rubble

Victims of Turkey's earthquake have been demonstrating at the lack of government aid, as rescuers search for children in the ruins of a village school.

There were violent scenes in Bingol, 400 miles east of Ankara, as crowds demanding food, tents and water from the authorities, confronted police and soldiers.

The police fired shots into the air and two people were injured when a police car drove into the crowd, which had gathered outside the provincial governor's building, reports said.

Meanwhile, emergency workers have been sifting through the ruins of a school dormitory in the village of Celtiksuyu, where dozens of children are believed to be trapped.

There can be few more unhappy places in Turkey right now
The BBC's Jonny Dymond

At least 105 people are now known to have died when a powerful earthquake struck the south-eastern area of Bingol on Thursday.

Thousands have been left homeless by the earthquake and many have spent a night out in the cold, with the prospect of more to come.

Up to 200 smaller aftershocks have followed the initial tremor, which struck at 0337 local time (0037 GMT) on Thursday with a magnitude of 6.4 - its epicentre close to the city of Bingol.

Silence for child's cries

The head of the search team at the school said he feared at least two-thirds of the 70 or 80 children thought to be inside the school would not be found alive.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond says orange-suited rescue workers are scrambling over the site of the school in the village of Celtiksuyu.

Occasionally they call for silence when a child's cries are heard, while parents push up against a cordon of soldiers preventing them from clawing at the rubble, he says.

Rescuer with child in Bingol city

Seven children were found alive overnight - their rescues greeted with cheers and clapping - but at least 20 lifeless bodies were also recovered.

Some of the children may have survived by sheltering below steel bunk beds and metal lockers.

But rescue workers have brought in a mechanical digger to work at the site, and this may indicate that hope of finding more survivors is fading.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised an investigation after complaints of poor building standards at the school and other buildings which collapsed which others nearby appeared untouched.

"The guilty will be prosecuted," he said on a visit to the affected area.

He also said that security forces should have taken control of the demonstrations "in a way that took account of the psychological climate" in Bingol, AFP reported.

The unrest has underlined the tensions between the authorities and the region's largely Kurdish population. It was a centre of Kurdish separatist rebellion in the 1980s and 1990s.

Deadly seconds

The school, built in the late 1990s, was home to around 200 children from surrounding villages too small to have their own school.

Thursday's quake lasted 17 seconds, according to the head of Istanbul's Kandilli seismology centre.

Within the rubble from collapsed buildings small spaces can be left
These spaces can be created by supportive objects such as drinks machines or filing cabinets
People can survive in these pockets for days, sometimes weeks

"We woke at exactly half past with everything in the house shaking, from the pictures to the windows in their frames," said one resident of the city of Diyarbakir, 115 kilometres (70 miles) south of the epicentre in Bingol.

Officials say the timing of the tremor - when people were at home asleep - could have contributed to the death toll.

It is difficult to get clear information because electricity and telephone lines to the remote region have been cut.

Offers of help have already been made by the United Nations and countries including Greece, Germany and Israel.

Turkey lies on the North Anatolian fault, and tremors are common.

Two earthquakes in August 1999 killed more than 17,000 people in the north-west of the country.

An earthquake in Bingol in 1971 killed about 900 people.

Were you affected by the earthquake? Do you live close to any of the affected areas? Send us your comments.

Your E-mail address

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.

The BBC's Brian Barron
"A lot of hope is draining away"

In pictures: Turkey earthquake
02 May 03  |  Photo Gallery
Clues to future tremors
06 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature
Deadly history of earthquakes
01 May 03  |  In Depth
Quake survivors describe ordeal
01 May 03  |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific