Ercis (Turkey), Oct 29: Rescuers pulled a 12-year-old boy from the rubble of Turkey's earthquake after being trapped for 108 hours, as the death toll in the disaster rose to 576.
The end of Ferhat Tokay's ordeal gave fresh hope to rescue crews who have been working round the clock in sub-zero temperatures, while concerns deepened about the plight of survivors.
Hopes of finding more people alive in the rubble had been fading fast before the rescue of 18-year-old Imdat Padak late Thursday, followed a few hours later by Ferhat, both in the worst-hit town of Ercis where scores of buildings collapsed.
Television footage showed a rescue worker shading Ferhat's eyes as he was brought to the surface to protect him from the floodlights used by the emergency teams.
Both of the young survivors were rushed to a field hospital in Ercis and later airlifted by helicopter to nearby hospitals for further treatment, media reports said.
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Friday emergency crews went on to work on nine different wreckages in Ercis either to manage miraculous survivors or find bodies, Anatolia news agency reported.
According to the latest update from the government's emergency service, 187 people have been pulled out alive from the debris.
The unit said that a total of 2,608 people had been injured by the 7.2 magnitude quake which ripped through eastern Van province.
A group of engineers from Istanbul University said the earthquake highlighted often shoddy construction. Concrete mixed with too much sand taken from riverbeds contributed to making housing units unstable.
The quake, Turkey's worst in years, also killed a lot of livestock, one of the region's main sources of income.
Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said the government was distributing livestock to villagers who lost animals rather than being compensating for them to ensure continued production, the NTV news channel reported.
More than 3,088 animal barns were destroyed by the quake, officials have said.
Fresh snow and rain in Van province Friday ensured more misery for survivors camping out in tents fearing more building collapses in aftershocks, with some camps turned into mudbaths.
Atalay said all the urgent needs of quake survivors would be completed by Saturday evening.
President Abdullah Gul had announced that an official reception to mark the 88th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish republic on October 29 was cancelled due to disaster.
Complaints have mounted over the speed of the rescue effort in the mainly Kurdish area.
On Friday, soldiers started to accompany aid trucks after locals and the Turkish Red Crescent complained that supplies were looted.
As Islam's Feast of Sacrifice is coming on November 6, Turkish Red Crescent would distribute the meat of 500 cattles in the region, Anatolia reported.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has admitted to failings in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake but as since sent a quarter of his cabinet to oversee operations in Van and dropped earlier opposition to help from abroad.
Countries that have flown in aid include Israel and Armenia, with whom Turkey has had strained diplomatic ties.