Bodies in the streets after earthquake as anger grows over aid

Rubble in the Turkish city of Antakya

In the city of Antakya, entire city blocks have been reduced to rubble

The bodies of people killed in Monday’s earthquake in southern Turkey are left in the streets as the hunt for survivors continues.

More than 7,000 people are known to have died in Turkey and northern Syria, which was also devastated by the earthquake.

The United Nations warned that thousands of children may be among the dead.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Monday at 04:17 (01:17 GMT) near the town of Gaziantep.

A later quake was almost as large, with its epicenter in Elbistan district in Kahramanmaras province.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency in the 10 provinces most affected by the quake.

He said the measures would allow aid workers and financial aid into affected regions, but did not provide further details.

About 70 countries are sending aid to Turkey, but anger is growing in some places that the aid is not coming fast enough.

In the city of AntiqueSome of the dead lay on the sidewalk for hours as rescuers and ambulances struggled to cope with the magnitude of the disaster.

Relatives of the missing combed through the rubble in search of their loved ones. A group of men using sledgehammers and other tools found the bodies of a man and a young girl trapped. They called for official rescuers to use their power tools to help, but told them to focus on the living.

The men continued to dig until the bodies were freed.

The anger grows that there is not enough help. A woman told the BBC that rescuers came to take pictures of her friend’s family’s building, where they believe 11 people were trapped, but they did not return.

She said they heard voices for hours, but then it was quiet.

Further north in Kahramanmarasclose to the epicenter of the second quake, there has been a delay in help arriving as the mountainous roads have been blocked by those trying to leave.

Rows of buildings have collapsed into heaps of rubble that rescuers struggle to process, as a bitterly cold wind blew smoke and dust from the rubble into their eyes.

Survivors now living on the streets must hunt for food and burn furniture they find to keep warm. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing later this week.

In the port city it is a similar situation Iskenderunwhere homeless people now shelter in open space, away from buildings.

A woman who spoke to the BBC is sheltering her children and grandchildren, including a six-year-old who has epilepsy. Relief workers have brought duvets and some bread, but so far there has been no other help.

“I’m devastated,” a doctor at a local hospital told Reuters. “I see bodies inside everywhere. Although I’m used to seeing bodies because of my expertise, it’s also very difficult for me.”

The port in Iskenderun is closed until further notice due to a major fire, which means ships with cargo on their way to the earthquake disaster area are being diverted.

The fire is believed to have started when an oil-filled shipping container overturned due to the earthquake and the flames then spread to surrounding cargo.

Emergency services are struggling to access the site due to damage from the earthquake and other containers now blocking the entrance. An attempt to fight the fire with a fireboat failed.

Smoke rises from a fire in the port of Iskenderun after an earthquake in Turkey

Iskenderun harbor is closed until further notice due to a fire

There have also been reports of difficulty getting aid to northern Syria, especially in opposition-controlled areas. Control there is divided between the government and other opposition groups. They remain embroiled in conflict due to an ongoing civil war.

Even before the earthquake, much of the region was critical, with freezing weather, crumbling infrastructure and a cholera outbreak causing misery for many of the people living there. More than four million people, mostly women and children, have already received aid.

The northwest in particular has become one of the hardest to reach places, with only one small border crossing on the Turkish border available to transport resources into opposition-held areas.

The UN said on Tuesday it was temporarily halting aid flows to Syria due to damage to the route, with no clear idea when it would resume.

Syria’s UN envoy has said all aid must come from within the country and not across the border with Turkey, leading those in opposition-controlled areas to worry that aid could be withheld for political reasons.

The scenes of devastation are interspersed with brief moments of hope. A baby born under the rubble near the city of Afrin has been rescued after she was still attached to her mother, who died after giving birth.

Map showing where the quakes were

Map showing where the quakes were

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