Residents of earthquake-stricken areas of eastern Turkey spent their second night outdoors Monday, in freezing temperatures, after towns were rattled by several aftershocks from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that has, so far, killed more than 270 people and wounded another 1,000. The death toll is likely to rise as hundreds of people are still missing.
Most of the casualties were concentrated in the towns of Ercis and Van, with officials still looking for survivors and also confirming the fatalities in the villages.
"It was like the Judgment Day," said Mesut Ozan Yilmaz, 18, who survived for 32 hours under the rubble of a teahouse where he had been passing time with friends. Though he was not hurt, Yilmaz is now being given medical attention after surviving the horrific ordeal.
"The space we had was so narrow. People were fighting for more space to survive. I rested my head on a dead man's foot. I know I would be dead now if I had let myself go psychologically," said Yilmaz in an interview with CNN Turk. He added that he dove under the table, when the earthquake started, to save his life.
As family members prepared to bury their loved ones and bid farewell to them, others, who had yet to find those dear to them (or at least their bodies), kept vigil by the mounds of concrete rubble. The horrible truth is that the longer it takes to find additional survivors, the less chance there is of their surviving the ordeal.