Search and rescue teams battle the bitter cold in a race against time to find survivors under buildings flatted by an earthquake that has killed more than 7,800 people.
Rescue workers in southern Turkey and northern Syria continued their efforts through the early hours of Wednesday morning pulling survivors from the wreckage amid freezing temperatures.
The death toll following Monday’s earthquakes continues to surge as more victims were found beneath the rubble during the night.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 afflicted provinces of the country, aimed at allowing relief workers and financial aid to reach the stricken areas.
“I would like to remind [the general public] that no one should use the roads leading to and within the earthquake zone unless it is compulsory, and telephone calls should not be made except for urgent needs,” he said.
A winter storm has compounded the misery by rendering many roads, some of them damaged by the quake, almost impassable, resulting in traffic jams that stretch for kilometres in some regions.
Monday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake and powerful aftershocks cut a swath of destruction that stretched hundreds of kilometres across southeastern Turkey and neighbouring Syria.
“It is now a race against time,” said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We have activated the WHO network of emergency medical teams to provide essential health care for the injured and most vulnerable,” he added.
In Syria, the civil defence group known as the White Helmets, which is more used to searching bombed-out buildings, is spread very thin.
Meanwhile, the logistics and politics of aiding Syria, especially vulnerable areas in the northwest, are much more complicated.
The few available excavators are being shuttled from one town to the next to respond to countless pleas for help.
Yet people in some of the hardest-hit areas said they felt they had been left to fend for themselves.
But some extraordinary survival tales have emerged, including a newborn baby pulled alive from rubble in Syria, still tied by her umbilical cord to her mother who died in Monday’s quake.
“We heard a voice while we were digging,” Khalil al-Suwadi, a relative, said. “We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord [intact] so we cut it and my cousin took her to the hospital.”
The infant is the sole survivor of her immediate family, the rest of whom were killed in the rebel-held town of Jindayris.