The Greek couple that were missing in Antioch (Ἀντιόχεια, Turkish: Antakya) were tragically found dead after an agonisingly long rescue operation came to an end.
According to ERT, the Turkish rescuers, who were searching in the wreckage of the apartment building in which the Greek couple was, initially located the body of the man under tons of cement. A little later, the body of his expatriate Syria-born wife, Nida Andypas, was also found.
Even up until last night, the phone of Georgios Andypas (born in Greece) was ringing and his son-in-law was looking for him.
The operation to find the two Greeks in Antioch was suspended at noon on Friday.
The first Greek rescue crew at the scene decided after frantic efforts to stop looking since the specially trained dogs and the searches found no sign of life.
Before the tragic news, the couple's daughter had spoken to STAR about her 65-year-old father, Georgios Andypas and her 62-year-old mother, Nida Andypas.
"I have no news about my parents. Nothing. I am in Istanbul now. I came from Dubai because I live there. I keep trying to call people and find out about my parents, but nothing. The last time I spoke to them was before the earthquake. After the earthquake, no," she said.
"I contacted the Greek authorities from the first moment. I have called several times and each time they say 'we will look for you and do whatever it takes' but they do nothing. They don't call us, we call them," said Rita, her voice breaking as she described the tragic moments.
The daughter of the couple explained that her father is a Greek citizen and her mother has Turkish and Greek citizenship.
"My great-great-grandfather had come to Turkey from Greece and my father was born in Turkey like me. We lived in Syria for years and with the war we returned to Turkey," she said.
Meanwhile, The death toll in Turkey following Monday's earthquake has risen to 19,388, according to the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The number of reported deaths in neighbouring Syria stands at 3,377, meaning the combined number of fatalities has reached almost 23,000.
Erdogan added that more than 77,700 people had been injured in Turkey and said the government would provide rent support for survivors of the quakes.
Earlier, he said the government's response to the earthquake has not been as fast as he had hoped.
Elsewhere, Syrian state media say the government has now given permission for international aid destined to earthquake victims to be sent into rebel-held territory across government lines, Reuters news agency reports.
They said aid distribution would be supervised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent with UN help.
If it goes ahead, the move would be a highly welcome step for those living in areas under the control of rebel groups in northern Syria, who have so far only received limited assistance in the form of UN aid trucks that have travelled across the border with Turkey.
Meanwhile, the UN’s human rights office has called for an immediate ceasefire to be reached in Syria in the wake of the earthquake.
David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian NGO, says a secondary disaster in Syria "is now imminent" as a result of "a complete lack of infrastructure to help support people".
He tells the BBC:
Quote Message: We've got a massive gap between scale and need in north of Syria.
We've got a massive gap between scale and need in north of Syria.
Quote Message: Every one of the most basic conditions is not yet being met for a fully-fledged humanitarian response."
Every one of the most basic conditions is not yet being met for a fully-fledged humanitarian response."
He explains that while the first disaster was the actual earthquake on Monday, the second disaster will stem from a failure to treat the wounded and the threat to the health of the living who have survived the earthquake.
He says an action plan needs to be implemented, starting with the very basics. He explains that firstly, the sole border crossing from Turkey into north-west Syria needs to be expanded.
Secondly, another closed crossing needs to be reopened. And thirdly, cash support as well as convoys of medical, hygiene and shelter supplies need to be scaled up.
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