NEAR ONE of Izmir’s main thoroughfares, bulldozers and excavators power through a vast heap of rubble and steel wire, the ghastly remains of an apartment block levelled by an earthquake that struck Turkey’s third-biggest city in late October. Movers salvage furniture and kitchen supplies from buildings awaiting demolition or on the verge of collapse, their facades covered with deep cracks. A few hundred metres away, outside a shelter for those made homeless by the disaster, Meryem, a divorced teacher, and her two children are packing their belongings onto a pickup truck. Her house survived, says Meryem, but suffered so much damage that she refuses to go back. “I would not wish this on anyone,” she says.
At least 116 people died in the magnitude 7.0 quake, including a woman who drowned in a minor tsunami set off by the tremors. Rescue teams poured in from all over the country. Thousands of people volunteered to give blood. Local businesses distributed food to the survivors. Nearly three days into the search effort, exhausted workers pulled a three-year-old girl from the rubble of her home. A day later, they rescued another toddler.
Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Turkey has seen four deadly earthquakes this year alone and 18 tremors measured at 7.0 or above in the past 120 years. Almost 60m people, or 70% of the…
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