Quake-hit Turkish family await help to recover buried kids

STORY: Homeless and with nowhere to shelter from harsh winter weather, their grief is compounded by the knowledge that two of their youngest members are still buried under the rubble.

A bulldozer is parked in front of what once was their home but there is no one to drive it since heavy snowfall hampered search efforts and aid delivery to more inaccessible regions.

No one came to help the Alinak family and they have also been forbidden to intervene to pull the bodies of the children out of the rubble for funerals, they said.

"Where is the state? Where they have been for two days? We are begging them", Sabiha Alinak told Reuters as the snow continues to fall heavily on the survivors and the rubble, covering everything with a white veil and a deafening silence.

The children's uncle, Ahmet Alinak, said the family were "doomed."

"I have two nephews in the wreckage behind me. Around two o' clock yesterday, this building collapsed. There are possibly hundreds more of buildings like this. Thousands are currently under the rubble. They (referring to Turkish authorities) won't let us save them by our means, but they don't send anyone to help either."

In Turkey and Syria, rescuers struggled to dig people out of the rubble of collapsed buildings in a "race against time" as the death toll from the earthquake that hit across a wide area of Turkey and Syria passed 5,000.

The magnitude 7.8 quake - the deadliest in Turkey since 1999 - hit early on Monday (February 6) and was followed by a second hours later.

President Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency covering Turkey's 10 southern provinces hit by devastating earthquakes, and called it a disaster zone in a move meant to bolster rescue efforts.