Rescuers are losing hope of finding more survivors after the earthquake that devastated towns in Turkey’s south-east on Sunday.
The official death toll has reached nearly 300 but authorities believe the final toll will be much higher once the rubble is fully cleared.
Residents left homeless by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake have spent a second night sleeping outside in near freezing temperatures as rescue crews worked to free survivors crying for help.
One man managed to call for help on his mobile phone and other survivors trapped beneath tonnes of concrete and steel have posted cries for help on Twitter; tweeting their address and the number of people still alive.
Another man, Abdurrahman Bedir, owes his life to a minor delay as he visited the local photo shop.
“The Se cafe collapsed and I was supposed to be there”, he said.
“My friends were waiting for me, but I had an errand to run at the photo shop. They were having technical problems so I was running a bit late to meet my friends. In fact, that’s when I got a call from my friend who is underneath the rubble. I’m sure he’s dead, and that was probably his last phone call. He said ‘Come quick, we’re waiting for you’.
Two children were pulled alive from one collapsed building in the town of Ercis, but rescuers say these are rare good news stories in a mostly grim task.
Dozens of people, dead or alive, are still trapped under a mess of concrete and twisted steel.
Cranes and other machines have lifted concrete slabs, while frantic residents dig below with shovels or even their bare hands.
A lack of electricity and water is hampering the search.
Many students are among those feared dead after a dormitory in Ercis collapsed and several other student houses crumbled.
Ercis, which is home to 75,000 people, is the worst-hit city, and scores of multistorey buildings there have collapsed.
At the local mosque rows of body bags line the pavement outside, and many families have faced the tragic news of finding loved ones among them.
“My family members who died were my nephew, his wife and their child”, local man Kursat Lap said.
“They all came here for a Sunday breakfast and then what happened, happened. All three dead are dead. May God protect us from this kind of grief.”
Across the region nearly 1,000 buildings have toppled since the quake and aftershocks.
This morning Turkey’s government said the confirmed death toll stood at 265 people.
“In Ercis there were 169 dead and in the Van area another 96,” interior minister Idris Naim Sahin said.
“So we have a death toll of 265. As for wounded, there are 350 in Ercis and 790 in Van which equals 1,140. But they are all being well taken care of.”
Military aircraft have dropped emergency supplies of tents, food and medicine and aid organisations have set up makeshift camps with tents and kitchens and field hospitals to help the newly homeless.
But Nazmi Gur, who is an MP in the city of Van, says there still are not enough tents to shelter the thousands of survivors.
He says many are scared that more buildings will collapse as aftershocks continue.
“The night was really very difficult,” he said.
“Many thousands of people lived in the streets because most of the buildings were completely damaged.”
As the aftershocks continue, authorities are warning people to stay away from damaged homes for fear they too could collapse.