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Some Turks Leave, Others Huddle in Town

November 16, 1999|From Associated Press

DUZCE, Turkey — After two major earthquakes in the past three months, terrified residents of this northwestern Turkish town are packing up and leaving, unable to face the idea that the ground could once again erupt around them.

Others are choosing to stay close to home since Friday's earthquake, but life for them is growing more and more difficult. Without enough tents to go around, many people in Duzce--the epicenter of the magnitude 7.2 quake--have had to spend the nights sleeping outside in freezing temperatures.

Friday's earthquake left 452 dead and 3,000 injured.

Families made homeless by the quake gathered scrap wood for campfires Monday as temperatures plunged into the teens, while rescuers warned that the cold decreased the chances of finding anyone alive in the wreckage.

Jean-Philippe Jutzi of Swiss Rescue said that after the freezing temperatures, many people trapped in the rubble probably have died of hypothermia.

"It would be a miracle" if anyone survived, he said.

International rescuers were scheduled to meet Monday to decide whether to end rescue operations. Teams from about 20 countries are searching the area, including a group from Fairfax, Va.

President Clinton, who met with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Monday, said Washington has sent tents for 10,000 people.

For three nights, Abdullah Ayyildiz has been sleeping in his car with his wife and baby.

"I am trying to find a tent," he said.

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