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Saturday, November 13, 1999 Published at 09:39 GMT


World: Europe

Searchers comb rubble for survivors

Volunteers clear debris in Duzce city centre

By the BBC's Chris Morris in Duzce

Houses and shops, offices and mosques, buildings across Duzce have crashed to the ground.

Search and rescue teams with sniffer dogs and specialised listening equipment are combing the rubble hoping to find survivors.

There have been success stories. But there is also the grim task of removing dead bodies.

Local officials say the destruction caused by the earthquake was swiftly followed by a series of fires.

Some of those who died were burned to death.

On the main Ankara-Istanbul motorway, lorries lie on their side, flipped over by the power of the tremor.

Part of the road has disappeared, leaving a gaping hole on the steep mountainside.

Lack of shelter

A major relief effort is now under way - hundreds of soldiers have been deployed across the region and military helicopters are helping ambulances evacuate the wounded.

At Duzce's main hospital, doctors are treating patients in the garden because its buildings have been declared unsafe.

They now have enough medicines, they say, but they need better shelter for survivors who have to sleep outside in freezing night time temperatures.

The response of the Turkish state appears to have been quicker and more efficient than in August when an even more powerful earthquake killed at least 17,000 people.

The authorities were better prepared this time but no-one here was expecting the next earthquake to come so soon.

A series of strong after shocks has made people even more apprehensive.



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