Turkish authorities are looking into contractors that may have been linked with buildings that collapsed in two February 6 earthquakes in the country.
The earthquakes killed more than 33,000 people, and rescuers were able to find more survivors on Sunday, a week after the 7.8 and 7.5 quakes struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, the Associated Press reports.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 131 people were under investigation for constructing the buildings that did not withstand the quakes.
According to the Associated Press, Turkey’s construction codes meet earthquake-engineering standards, but the codes are not often enforced.
Of those under investigation, two were arrested on suspicion they cut down two columns to make extra room in a building that collapsed. Thus far, three people have been arrested, seven others have been detained, and another seven have been barred from leaving the country.
One detained contractor, Yavuz Karakus, told the DHA news agency: “My conscience is clear. I built 44 buildings. Four of them were demolished. I did everything according to the rules.”
Most recently, a 50-year-old woman was pulled from the wreckage in the Hatay province, and two other women, one of whom was pregnant, were also saved in the town of Iskenderun.
Rescuers also found a 6-year-old boy alive under his home.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca posted a video of a young girl who was found alive. “There is always hope!” he tweeted.
In another rescue video, a young man in his 20s or 30s is pulled from the rubble and laid on a stretcher.
“God is great,” the workers shouted.
Some 34,717 Turkish personnel are involved in rescue operations, and another nearly 10,000 from other countries had also joined the efforts.
In Damascus, the capital of Syria, the head of the World Health Organization called the disaster an “unfolding tragedy that’s affecting millions.”
“The compounding crises of conflict, COVID, cholera, economic decline, and now the earthquake have taken an unbearable toll,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chris McGrath/Staff
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.