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Tragic photo shows father holding dead daughter’s hand after Turkey quake

A gut-wrenching photo of a father grasping the hand of his dead daughter trapped beneath a slab of concrete made people around the world gasp as Turkey and Syria continued to grapple with the aftermath of a monster earthquake that killed at least 5,100 people in the region.

The distressing image was taken in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, where rescuers worked to pick through the rubble of an apartment building that was knocked down by a 7.8 magnitude temblor Monday.

The photo shows Mesut Hancer, dressed in a bright-orange coat with reflective strips, sitting atop a pile of debris and holding the lifeless hand of his 15-year-old daughter, Irmak, sticking out from under a huge chunk of concrete that had toppled onto the girl’s bed, crushing her to death.

Mesut Hancer holds the hand of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak, who died in the earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, close to the quake's epicenter.
AFP via Getty Images
The teenage girl died in her bed after being crushed by a huge slab of concrete.
AFP via Getty Images
Mesut Hancer holds the hand of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak.
AFP via Getty Images

A UNICEF official warned earlier that thousands of children may be among the fatalities.

The Associated Press reported seeing a Syrian man holding a dead girl in his arms as he walked away from the debris of a collapsed two-story building.

He and a woman set the girl on the floor under covering to protect her from the rain, wrapping her in a large blanket.

But there have also been reports of children being rescued from collapsed buildings, including a newborn baby who was found alive and still tied by her umbilical cord to her mother, who died inside the family’s home in northern Syria.

A man sits next to a body amid the rubble of buildings in Kahramanmaras, Turkey.
AFP via Getty Images

In the northwestern Syrian town of Jinderis, a young girl named Nour was pulled alive from the wreckage of a collapsed building Monday.

A rescuer cradled her head in his hands and tenderly wiped dust from around her eyes as she lay amid crushed concrete and twisted metal before being pulled out.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the death toll from the initial earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria could reach 20,000.

“It’s now a race against time,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva. “Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminishes.”

Rescue teams and civilians working in freezing temperatures dug — sometimes with their bare hands — through the remains of buildings in search of trapped survivors and bodies of loved ones.

The death toll in Turkey had risen to 3,549 people, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday as he declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces affected by the tremors.

Rescue workers and medics carry a woman out of the debris of a collapsed building in Elbistan, Kahramanmaras, in southern Turkey, Tuesday.
A women weeps as she stands near a pile of rubble in Gaziantep, Turkey.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said 5,775 buildings had been destroyed in the quakes and that 20,426 people had been injured.

In Syria, the number of casualtirs stood at just over 1,700, according to the government and a rescue service in the insurgent-held northwest.

State news agency SANA said at least 812 people were killed and 1,449 people injured in the government-held provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, Idlib and Tartous.

Earthquake survivors wait for news of their loved ones, believed to be trapped under collapsed building on February 07, 2023 in Iskenderun, Turkey
Getty Images

At least 900 people were killed in Syria’s opposition-held northwest and 2,300 injured with the toll expected to “rise dramatically,” the White Helmets rescue team said

Bitter winter weather hampered rescue efforts and the delivery of aid, and made the plight of the homeless even more miserable.

With Post wires