Two people were rescued on Saturday after being pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay, southern Turkey, 13 days after an earthquake struck the region, killing more than 43,000 people.
Almost 300 hours after this 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on February 6 in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, the chances of finding survivors are dwindling day by day.
It is the region's deadliest natural disaster in centuries.
Turkish rescue teams found survivors throughout the week who had long been trapped under rubble in freezing temperatures.
But the number of these survivors has been reduced to a handful in recent days.
One of those killed is former Ghanaian international Christian Atsu, whose body was found under a collapsed building in the city of Antakya.
His death was confirmed by Murat Uzunmehmet, his agent in Turkey, quoted by the Turkish private agency DHA, ending almost two weeks of concern and research for the relatives of the 31-year-old footballer.
The state news agency Anadolu broadcast images of the rescues of the survivors found on Saturday.
It shows a man and a woman on stretchers after spending 296 hours trapped in the rubble in Antakya, as well as a child who died minutes after efforts to save him, according to the agency.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca released a video of the 40-year-old woman in a field hospital while receiving treatment.
"She's conscious," he tweeted.
On Friday, a 45-year-old man was extracted from the rubble, several hours after three other survivors, including a 14-year-old boy, were still alive under the rubble.
The enthusiastic reactions of witnesses on the spot in recent days after each rescue have subsided.
On Friday, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said rescue efforts continued at some 200 sites as teams raced against time to find more survivors.
The earthquake, which occurred in one of the most active seismic zones in the world, hit inhabited areas where buildings were unable to withstand such powerful tremors.
Officials and doctors said 39,672 people died in Turkey and 3,688 in Syria in the disaster, bringing the confirmed total to 43,360.
The drama puts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under great pressure due to slow rescues and construction deficiencies.
In 1999, following an earthquake that killed more than 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey, authorities promised that building regulations would be tightened.
The building where footballer Atsu died, a 12-storey luxury building, was built in 2013 when Turkey had stricter building standards.
Turkish police have since arrested the building contractor as he tried to flee the country, Anadolu reported last week.
Police have also arrested dozens of contractors as the government vows to crack down on lax building standards.
More than 84,000 buildings have collapsed, are in urgent need of demolition or were badly damaged in the quake, Turkish Environment Minister Murat Kurum said on Friday.
One of the hard-hit regions is Antakya, an ancient crossroads of civilizations.
Optician Cuneyt Eroglu, 45, sifts through the rubble of his Kubat eyewear store. The city has suffered several earthquakes - nearly one every 100 years - and is no stranger to rebuilding.
"We're going to clean up and keep living here," he said amid his twisting mounts.
The street that passes in front of his shop has not yet been emptied of its rubble and bent metal structures.
Eroglu, whose family escaped the earthquake, now lives in a tent in a village outside Antakya. "It wouldn't be fair to leave Antakya," he said.
18/02/2023 12:31:49 -- Antakya (Turquie) (AFP) © 2023 AFP