Hope is dwindling for the group of Turkish Cypriots trapped under the rubble of the Isias hotel in Adiyaman, Turkey, who are yet to be recovered, the north’s ‘education minister’ Nazim Cavusoglu said on Thursday, four days after the catastrophic earthquake.
Ten bodies have reportedly been recovered so far from the group of around 35 Turkish Cypriots.
In the afternoon, three more bodies, a mother and her daughter and another child on the team, were pulled from the rubble of the hotel, where the volleyball team was staying.
A mother, Duygu Kalayci and her daughter Lavin, were identified by their families, after their bodies were retrieved.
Earlier, the body of another child had been pulled from the wreckage, according to reports in the north.
Turkish Cypriot authorities said that they had not established the child’s identity yet, so the name was not released.
Overnight, the body of a third victim from the wreckage of the hotel had been pulled from the rubble. The body was that of an eight-year-old boy, Doruk Akin, whose body was pulled out overnight on Thursday.
The north’s ‘education minister’ Nazim Cavusoglu said that it would take a few days to remove the wreckage.
“We want to take our students no matter what. Families are watching the work 24 hours a day since the beginning of the disaster,” he said.
Commenting on the tragedy, President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his sincere condolences “over the death of our compatriots”.
In a phone call with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, Anastasiades said that he hoped there would be good news regarding the ongoing rescue search at the hotel, and he reiterated that the government is ready to help in any way possible.
The boy, Doruk Akin, was pulled from the rubble overnight, while the bodies of two teachers, named as Pamir Konuklu and Ibrahim Yakula, were pulled from the rubble earlier.
Several Turkish Cypriots in the north have changed their profile pictures on social media to black in light of the tragedy that is unfolding and that concerns a group of some 35 Turkish Cypriots that had been staying at the Isias hotel in Adiyaman for a volleyball competition.
The group comprised students from the Famagusta secondary school.
Meanwhile according to foreign ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou, a 14-year-old Turkish Cypriot girl, living with her family in the Republic said that she is safe after being rescued in Antakya.
According to Demetriou, the girl was with her grandmother and aunt, who were killed in the quake.
Demetriou said that all the appropriate measures are being taken by the ministry for her.
At least another seven Turkish Cypriots in other locations in Turkey have been reported dead.
Also on Thursday, Turkish Cypriot Ahmet Aksunlar started a crowdfunding campaign collecting donations for victims of the earthquake in both Turkey and Syria.
“We, as the Cypriot youth across the divide, are uniting to support this humanitarian crisis, and help the relief efforts in the region,” he wrote on the campaign website.
“We have selected two organisations to donate the funds, based on their trustworthiness and experience working in the specific locations for rescue, relief and material and medical aid.”
The donations will go to Turkey’s Ahbap, a natural disaster management group, and the White Helmets in Syria.
The campaign can be found at https://gogetfunding.com/cypriot-youth-earthquake-fundraiser/.
Following the discovery of the child’s body, the north said that it has set up psychological counselling teams for those affected by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, people will also be able to donate goods to earthquake victims until next Friday, as part of the EU Civil Defence effort under way.
Donations of goods will be made in all districts across Cyprus.
Municipalities in the north are also collecting items to send to victims of the earthquake in Turkey.
Speaking about the Adiyaman quake on Wednesday, which trapped the Turkish Cypriot students under the hotel, one of the survivors Berna Tavis said that the hotel fell like “a house of cards.”
Commenting on the phone in a television show, Tanis said that she was rescued alone with the help of her friends. She had seen the children and had been told they were volleyball players, she added.