[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Grim search for quake victims
A schoolboy, killed in the earthquake, is carried to his funeral
Young victims are buried as work continues to rescue missing pupils

More bodies have been recovered from a school dormitory that collapsed in Turkey's earthquake, as hopes of finding any more survivors fade.

The death toll now stands at 70 after rescue workers spent a third day searching through the rubble for bodies.

About 13 pupils are still missing and families have been maintaining a sad vigil around the army's security cordon and in nearby fields.

The BBC's Peter Biles, who is at the scene, says hope of finding any survivors is all but gone and the rescue operation is starting to be scaled down.

Abdulmuttalik Celik, who has spent the last three days waiting for news of his 14-year-old brother, admitted: "We are hoping for a miracle.

"I don't know if there really is a chance but I want to believe he will be found alive."

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

Those involved in the recovery operation have slowly and with considerable care been trying to open up entrance ways into the collapsed building, our correspondent says.

After mechanical diggers finish their work, uniformed volunteers move in with pneumatic drills, cutting equipment or just their bare hands.

They have scraped away concrete and the mangled steel rods that were designed to prevent just such a tragedy.

On Friday, there were chaotic scenes as police fired warning shots to disperse residents who were protesting against what they saw as the inadequate response of the Turkish authorities.

Anger grew when a police car injured several people by driving through a crowd which had gathered outside the provincial governor's building.

Investigation promised

Bingol is a mainly Kurdish town 640 kilometres (400 miles) east of the capital Ankara - an area with long-standing tensions between the public and the police.

At the ruins of the school, in the nearby village of Celtiksuyu, many parents were upset when rescuers started using cranes and heavy equipment to shift the rubble.

"God took him, why are you cutting him into pieces?" screamed one man, the father of a 14 year old missing under the rubble.

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

But Ahmet Aydin, in charge of the emergency centre at the site, defended the decision. "This is still a search-and-rescue operation," he said.

The children were asleep in their dormitories when the quake struck.

Although 115 children have been brought out alive, the earthquake - which had a magnitude of 6.4 - has claimed the lives of at least 127 people.

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

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

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

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
"Aid is now flowing"

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