Turkey/Syria earthquake: Husky dog rescued from rubble 23 days later
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Alex was pulled from the wreckage in Antakya in the province of Hatay after rescuers heard him while searching for survivors nearby.
Video footage shows the emotional moment Alex was rescued by rescuers. Despite spending 23 days under the rubble, the first thing the brown and white dog did when he reached the surface was to lick his rescuers’ face.
He was taken to the HAYTAP Field hospital where he received medical treatment. He was exhausted and had lost weight, but Turkish media said he was in good health.
HAYTAP volunteer Osman Polat told Turkish outlet Oda TV: “It was a miracle indeed. It is truly a miracle that he survived in that hole for 22 days without eating or drinking anything.”
It is believed Alex became trapped when the two-storey building collapsed during the earthquake on February 6.
Rescue teams said they heard him making noises as they looked for temporary shelters in the Antakya province; they said they could see his nose through a small in the wreckage.
Overall, it took a team of volunteers around two hours to free Alex who nearly became yet another casualty of a devastating wave of quakes to hit Turkey in recent weeks.
The first and biggest tremor struck on February 6. The magnitude 7.8 quake lead to almost 50,000 deaths and the collapse or damage of around 173,000 buildings.
While there is a concerted effort by the Turkish authorities to rehouse civilians as quickly as possible following the disaster, there are concerns that in their rush to rebuild, they could be laying the foundations for a future disaster.
Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdog has promised to build 400,000 new housing units just weeks after the earthquake. The hope is to rehouse as many people as possible ahead of an election on May 14.
However, urban planning experts have expressed concern about the speed of construction with fears these buildings may be vulnerable to future tremors if they are constructed too quickly.
Speaking to the Independent, geophysicist Savas Karabulut said: “Early warning and emergency management stations should be installed and observed continuously. The central authority has declared that we will resolve all these problems in only one year. It’s not possible to accept this non-scientific solution. Otherwise, the next earthquake can result in a greater catastrophe.”
Thousands of Turkish and Syrian civilians have been left homeless by a wave of earthquakes which have struck the region in recent weeks. Aid and government agencies are working hard to provide them with the support and shelter they need.
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