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Turkey quake rescue operation stalled by shortages

Thousands of people were working frantically yesterday to save survivors from the devastating earthquake in eastern Turkey despite rescue efforts being hampered by serious shortages of equipment.

As the death toll in Van province climbed yesterday afternoon to 265, with 1,140 injured, rescue teams described hearing calls for help from beneath the rubble from victims who they were unable to reach.

"We can't get to survivors fast enough," one rescue team member said.

In Ercis, a town of about 75,000 near the Iranian border, said to have been hit hardest by the quake, it was reported that rescuers only had access to one device for detecting survivors.

"We have to yell into buildings to see if anyone is there," one worker said.

At least 120 people have been killed in Ercis after 80 multi-storey buildings collapsed.

Across the province, people were reportedly sleeping in government-supplied tents.

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