Heartbreaking photos show father clutching hand of dead daughter trapped in Turkey earthquake rubble
A heartbreaking photo from a city in Turkey decimated by two devastating earthquakes shows a father holding the hand of his dead 15-year-old daughter trapped beneath the rubble.
The striking image depicts the sorrow that will be felt by thousands of families who lost loved ones in Monday’s quake, with fears up to 20,000 may have been killed in Turkey and Syria.
Hunched amidst the rubble in Kahramanmaras, Mesut Hancer is pictured holding the hand of his daughter 15-year-old Irmak – her pale fingers visible through the slabs of concrete and broken bricks that once formed the apartment block where the family lived.
Irmak is still lying on her bed, with what appears to be a pink bedsheet pulled from it to expose the mattress. Around her lies debris – from a sofa cushion to the heavy brick walls, smashed into tiny pieces.
Her father gazes into the distance with a vacant expression, as he sits sat on the rubble of what was once their home.
Close by but not pictured, a man with a sledgehammer tries to smash his way through the ruins beside the heartbreaking scene. Here, rescuers and civilians have been working since Monday to recover their loved ones.
With over 7,200 confirmed dead following two magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes across southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria, the region is reeling amidst the devastation.
Search and recovery efforts have been ongoing since the first quake hit in the early hours of February 6. The second hit approximately 9 hours later, followed by more than 200 aftershocks.
The earthquake occurred around 4km southeast of Ekinözü in the KahramanmaraÅ province, where Mr Hancer and his daughter are pictured. Some of the heaviest devastation occurred between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, a city of two million people where entire streets now lie in ruins as snow falls.
Turkish authorities report that 13.5 million people were affected across an area spanning roughly 450km from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east, and 300km from Malatya in the north to Hatay in the south.
In Syria, a newborn baby was rescued from beneath a collapsed building, still connected to her dead mother via her umbilical cord. The woman gave birth whilst buried beneath the rubble in the wake of the earthquakes.
Another heartbreaking story of loss, the newborn was the only member of her family to survive. She is believed to have been born three hours earlier, according to how far her temperature had plummeted.
Footage of the rescue shows a search team member lifting the dust-covered infant to safety in the small town of Jinderis. Located in the rebel-held enclave of northwest Syria close to the Turkish border, it was hard hit by the quake with multiple buildings destroyed.