Survivors scream as desperate rescuers work in Turkey and Syria

Rescuers and civilians pushed chunks of concrete and household items through mountains of rubble on Monday, moving tons of rubble by hand in a desperate search for survivors trapped by a devastating earthquake.

"Can someone hear me?" rescuers shouted as they searched Kahramanmaras province, the epicenter. In some places in southeastern Turkey, survivors could be heard screaming from under collapsed buildings.

Many people crouched down to look under a huge concrete sheet held up at an angle by steel bars. They crawled in and out, trying to get to the survivors. The excavation team dug through the rubble below.

Rescue efforts unfolded as darkness, rain and cold engulfed a region of Turkey and Syria devastated by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake and another massive one that struck hours later. More than 3,400 people died and civilians joined rescuers in desperate efforts in Turkey and Syria.

Elsewhere in Kahramanmaras province, rescuers pulled two children alive from the rubble. One lay on a stretcher on the snowy ground. Rescue teams silenced the crowd of people trying to help so they could hear the survivors and find them.

In Adana, about 20 people, some wearing emergency rescue vests, used power saws on top of the concrete mound of a collapsed building to create a space for survivors to escape or be rescued. Later, excavators joined the efforts as bright spotlights illuminated the remains.

Thousands of search and rescue personnel, firefighters and medics were working in 10 provinces, along with some 3,500 soldiers. Residents kicked up rubble and unearthed people heard screams under buildings. Aftershocks made rescue efforts more dangerous.

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Turkish military ambulances were transporting the wounded to hospitals in Istanbul and Ankara, the Defense Ministry said. Rescuers from across Turkey tried to reach the provinces amid heavy snow and rain. But many in Hatay said they did not have enough help and worried about the miles of rubble and the people trapped in it.

Four ministers held a press conference in Hatay on Monday night explaining their action plans for the province. They said that because the Hatay airport had been badly damaged, they had to fly to Adana nearly three hours away.

In Syria, a man held a dead girl in his arms next to a collapsed two-story concrete building as he walked away from the rubble. He and a woman placed the girl on the ground under a blanket to protect her from the rain, wrapped her in a large blanket and stared at the building, overwhelmed.

An official with Turkey’s disaster management authority said 7,840 people had been rescued in 10 provinces. The official, Orhan Tatar, said 5,606 buildings had collapsed.

Tatar said the total area affected was large and the places were difficult to reach, but as of Monday night, teams had been directed to all the collapsed buildings.

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