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More Survivors Pulled From Turkey-Syria Quake Rubble

FILE - Rescue workers and medics pull out a person from a collapsed building in Antakya, Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.
FILE - Rescue workers and medics pull out a person from a collapsed building in Antakya, Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.

Rescuers have pulled more survivors from the debris of the Feb. 6 earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria even as the window for finding people alive is closing fast and the death toll surpassed 40,000.

The Turkish disaster management agency updated the death toll from the powerful earthquake in Turkey to 38,044, raising the overall number of fatalities in both Turkey and Syria to 41,732.

Officials said the death toll is certain to increase further as search teams retrieve more bodies amid the devastation.

More than 10 days after the powerful earthquake struck, rescuers overnight pulled out a child, a woman and two men alive from wreckage.

The latest rescues came as crews began clearing up debris in cities devastated by the earthquake.

Neslihan Kilic, a 29-year-old mother of two, was removed from the rubble of a building in Kahramanmaras, after being trapped for 258 hours, the Turkish DHA news agency reported late Thursday.

In the city of Antakya, police rescue crews found 12-year-old Osman alive after retrieving 17 bodies from a collapsed building.

"Just when our hopes were over, we reached our brother Osman at the 260th hour," police rescue team leader Okan Tosun told DHA.

An hour later, crews reached two men inside the debris of a collapsed hospital in Antakya.

One of them, Mustafa Avci, used the mobile phone of a rescuer to call his brother and ask about family members.

"Have they all survived?" he asked. "Let me hear their voices."

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said it is working closely with Turkey to determine the steps needed to rehabilitate infrastructure in the agricultural sector damaged by the quake, including irrigation systems, roads, markets and storage capacity.

In Syria, a total of 143 trucks carrying aid from Turkey into the northwest part of the country have crossed the border since Feb. 9, a United Nations official said.

Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the trucks are carrying a "multitude" of items from six U.N. agencies — including tents, mattresses, blankets, winter clothes, cholera testing kits, essential medicines and food from the World Food Program. They crossed through the border gates of Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh, he said.

"In Syria, rapid assessments by FAO of areas affected by the earthquakes suggest major disruption to crop and livestock production capacity, threatening immediate and longer-term food security," the Rome-based agency said in a statement.

The powerful 7.8 earthquake has become Turkey's deadliest disaster in modern history.

Information for this report came from the Associated Press.