The death toll from Wednesday's earthquake in Turkey reached 20. Rescue workers are still digging through the rubble of a collapsed hotel in the city of Van, where two journalists are believed to be trapped.
Around 25 buildings collapsed during the 5.7 magnitude quake. Most of them had been vacated following a 7.2 magnitude quake that hit the city less than two weeks earlier, but two hotels were housing more than 50 journalists, rescue workers and foreign doctors.
On Friday, eight bodies were discovered under the hotel, bringing the toll to 20. Some of those killed were contractors who were building temporary shelters for the people whose homes were destroyed in the last quake.
Search-and-rescue teams have been working around the clock, digging through the below-freezing nights in the hopes of finding anyone still alive.
We are not able to hear any voices, disaster management official Askit Dayi told The Associated Press. But still we are removing layers of concrete in a way as if there are survivors.
Sadness and Anger
On Thursday, residents held a protest in Van, accusing the government of not doing safety checks on the buildings that were damaged in the Oct. 23 earthquake. They also demanded the resignation of the provincial governor, who didn't close the two hotels despite safety concerns.
Riot police used batons and tear gas to disperse the 200 or so demonstrators.
People are under the rubble because of uncompleted tasks, a sign held by TV anchorman Mustafa Yenigun, who was at the protest, said.
Similar sentiments were felt after the earlier earthquake, and the residents of Van and nearby Ercis were outraged by the government's slow response to the disaster and its initial decision to eschew foreign aid. Thousands of people were left to sleep outside after state agencies provided woefully few tents and temporary shelters.
There was a failure in the first 24 hours, but in such situations such shortcomings are normal, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said on television at the time.
There may not be sufficient equipment in depots at the start, but these have (now) been resolved with equipment from other depots.
Like in October, Erdogan has promised to investigate criminal negligence and to take legal action against any official who allowed the hotels to continue operating.