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Turkey Quake Death Toll at 128

June 29, 1998

CEYHAN, Turkey (AP) _ Search teams found 16 more bodies today in the rubble of this devastated town, bringing the confirmed death toll from an earthquake in southern Turkey to at least 128 people.

Others were feared trapped under collapsed buildings in Ceyhan, rescue workers said.

Relatives of the missing pleaded with rescue teams to keep up the search. ``I want my nephew’s body,″ shouted Ismail Karayaka, as he was pushed back by soldiers surrounding the rescue sites.

Ceyhan and the city of Adana, 250 miles south of Ankara, the capital, were the hardest hit by Saturday’s 6.2 magnitude quake.

Up to 1,500 people were injured, with 300 people now being treated in makeshift outdoor treatment centers set up by hospitals, according to the crisis center in Adana.

``I was riding my bicycle when the quake hit. I fell on the ground and bricks began to fall over me,″ said Sevilay Zenger, an 11-year-old girl lying in a tent on the grounds of Adana’s Balcali hospital.

``If God wants, she will get well,″ said Hayriye Yildiz, as she looked at her unconscious 7-year-old daughter, Ayse, who is suffering from internal bleeding.

Among those killed were 62 people in Ceyhan and 44 in Adana, where most victims were living in poorly built houses in slum districts. Other victims came from nearby villages.

Panicked residents slept outside for the last two nights as up to 70 aftershocks kept them away from their homes.

``I want my bed,″ cried Olgay Tan, 38, lying on a blanket in a park.

But her husband, Ahmet, was determined to be safe. ``I am terribly scared,″ he said. ``I can’t enter my home without thinking of an imminent quake.″

Rescuers found only one survivor Sunday in Ceyhan _ an 11-year-old boy who, despite spending nearly 24 hours trapped under a collapsed building, seemed to be in good health. Among those found dead today were his father and 18-year-old brother.

The bodies of three other children who had been at a birthday party when the quake struck were also dug out Sunday in Ceyhan. Firefighter Ekrem Dogdu said about 25 people may still be trapped under the mountains of building debris there.

Ceyhan authorities said they would launch an investigation into contractors whose buildings collapsed.

Wealthy Turkish businessman Sakip Sabanci, who comes from Adana, promised roughly $1 million for the disaster-stricken region. The Sabanci family is one of the richest in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

The Incirlik air base, at the outskirts of Adana, is used by U.S. and British jets that patrol a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. Staff Sgt. Joel Langton of the U.S. Air Force said 35 people affiliated with the base suffered mild bruises and cuts from the quake. He did not give their nationalities.

The quake jostled a wide region from the Mediterranean coast of Turkey to the island of Cyprus.

Much of Turkey sits atop the Anatolian fault, and earthquakes occur frequently.

Update hourly