A three-year-old girl was rescued from a collapsed building in the western Turkish city of İzmir on Monday, nearly three days after a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 hit the Aegean coast that has killed at least 85 people.
Elif Perincek was pulled from debris in the Bayrakli district of the Aegean Izmir province by the rescuers. Elif is the 106th person to be rescued from the rubble. The image of her holding on to the thumb of the firefighter has now become a symbol of hope and strength in these trying times.
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Muammer Celik, the firefighter who pulled the girl from the rubble of her home stated that the girl held his thumb tightly until brought to safety. He picked Elif from the space between her bed and her dresser and found her lying on her back. He cleaned her face and got rid of the dust. Celik also added that Elif is their miracle.
About 23 hours after the quake, Elif’s mother Seher Dereli Perincek and her 10-year-old sisters, Ezel and Elzem, as well as her seven-year-old brother Umut were found alive in the wreckage. While Umut lost his life, her mother and sisters are currently being treated.
Mehmet Gulluoglu, the head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), expressed happiness on Twitter at the little girl’s rescue.
This news of the rescue came just hours after another child was found alive under the rubble and safely brought to the surface by the rescue team. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) stated that 14-year-old Idil Sirin was rescued after she had spent more than 58 hours trapped under a collapsed building.
Turkey is among the world’s most seismically active zones, and has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past, including the 1999 Marmara quake. The US Geological Survey stated, around 91 people died and 994 were injured after the earthquake with magnitude 7.0 struck in the Aegean Sea on Friday, shaking parts of Greece and Turkey. The USGS reported, the quake struck 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of the town of Néon Karlovásion on Samos, , at a relatively shallow depth of 21 kilometers (13 miles), making its impact powerfully felt at ground level around the epicenter. Some 20 buildings were seriously damaged in Izmir by the tremor.