GAZIANTEP (Turkiye): The MAS-01 Smart team found six bodies of earthquake victims on Friday (Feb 11) in the ruins of a seven-storey hotel and residential building in Nurdagi here.
Five bodies - a woman and four men - believed to be part of a family, were found at 9.30 am local time (2.30 pm Malaysian time) while the sixth body, of a woman, was found at 2.10 pm (7.10 pm Malaysian time).
The MAS-01 Smart team is the search and rescue (SAR) team from Malaysia that was deployed to Turkiye on Monday (Feb 6).
On Wednesday, the Malaysian government deployed another SAR team consisting of 20 members of the Special Malaysia Search and Rescue Team (SMART), 30 members of the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM), and 20 Civil Defence Force (APM) officers.
Also joining the team were two media personnel from the National News Agency of Malaysia (Bernama) and a cameraman from Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).
Nurdagi is one of the areas in Gaziantep that was badly affected following the strong earthquake that hit southern Turkiye on Monday.
Upon arrival on Friday at 3 am local time (8 am Malaysian time), the team found that the earthquake ripped Nurdagi town as residential buildings up to seven-storey collapsed completely.
The area assigned to the MAS-01 Smart team was previously a seven-storey hotel and residential building that collapsed completely and it is believed that there were more than 100 victims were killed.
It is even sadder that many survivors gathered around the ruins to see the SAR efforts carried out by locals and Malaysian rescue teams in the hope of seeing their family members found alive.
However, the chance for victims to be found alive was very slim due to being trapped for a long time and extreme cold weather with readings as low as three degrees Celsius during the day and can drop to -6 degrees Celsius at night until before sunrise on about 7.30 am.
Most of the survivors are still in the area and taking shelter in tents provided by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), a Turkish government disaster management agency.
Following the extreme cold weather, many of them are seen sleeping or gathering by a fire to warm themselves.
It is understood that many members of the MAS-01-Smart team also did the same, and many of them admitted that they only slept for two or three hours due to cold weather.
A strong earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale that hit southern Turkiye and northwestern Syria on Monday, has claimed thousands of lives.
Aftershocks were also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
The death toll in Turkiye continues to rise to 20,318 while more than 80,000 others were injured, reported by Anadolu Agency (AA), citing the country's disaster agency on Friday.
Turkiye, on Tuesday, declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 provinces - Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurf - to ensure the smooth running of search and rescue missions. - Bernama