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ABC News
ABC News
Middle East correspondent Allyson Horn and Haidarr Jones in Adana, Türkiye

People buried after Türkiye's earthquakes are sending text messages from beneath the rubble

Rescue workers have been picking through the debris of a collapsed apartment block in Adana, Türkiye, for days on end, when they suddenly call out for silence on the site. 

They've just received a text message from a man trapped underneath the rubble. 

His name is Şenel. 

In the text, he tells rescuers he's still alive, in apartment nine, and he pleads for help. 

The heavy machinery that had been working overtime to clear the rubble is shut down. 

Search and rescue dogs are silenced, and men put down their shovels, crouching closer to the ground. 

An eerie hush descends over the scene, as rescuers call out to the man. 

It's hard to know where apartment nine is. 

The building was 14 stories high but is now a mangled wreck of twisted metal and concrete slabs. 

The rescuers try again to get a response they can use to guide them on where to dig. 

There are minutes of silence as they wait to hear anything but no reply comes. 

There's a palpable sense of disappointment among the rescuers, as they again pick up their shovels and begin to dig, not quite knowing where in the massive pile to focus their efforts. 

But they don't stop. 

It's slow, laborious work. 

A daughter waits for news of her trapped mother

Using their bare hands, they pick up concrete chunks and throw them into buckets, which are then passed along a line of men before being thrown into a dump truck. 

A woman approaches the rescuers asking after her mother, who is also buried beneath the building. 

She describes in intimate detail the layout of her mother's apartment: The kitchen goes into the lounge room and then the bedroom.

She tells them about the floral colour of her couch, which might act as a guidepost if spotted. 

The woman is wrapped in a thick blanket to protect against the near-freezing temperature, and has been standing outside this wreckage for two days, waiting for any sign of hope. 

But her husband Enver tells us it's unlikely his mother-in-law has survived. 

"She is an old woman, she has bad asthma, the air is so bad here," he says.

"We haven't heard from her since the earthquake. 

"We don't have hope. If she's alive, it's a very big miracle." 

Amid so much death, humanity is on display

There are dozens more families and friends huddled around makeshift bonfires on the edge of the rescue site. 

They burn logs straight on the road. 

The smell of the smoke mixes with the dust from the concrete being smashed apart by a jackhammer. 

People cover their faces with scarves and masks to stop them from breathing in the concrete particles. 

A volunteer group is boiling a big pot of water to make people fresh cups of coffee. Nearby shop owners arrive with freshly baked breads and hand them out among the crowds. 

The friends and families also watch as rescuers regularly shout out "Allahu Akbar" in a sign something has been found. 

Once again the scene falls quiet and people hold their breath, waiting to see if someone has been rescued alive. 

More often than not, it's a body. 

Several have been pulled from this apartment block in the past few hours. 

The death toll from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck southern Türkiye and northern Syria this week has climbed past 11,000. 

The families waiting for news of their loved ones know what's at stake. 

It's a grim and tense scene, but there is so much humanity on display. 

The rescuers carefully pick up children's dolls from underneath the slabs of concrete, and place them on a growing pile of once-loved toys. 

It's one more physical reminder of the unfairness of this tragedy, and the compassion that's being shown across so many towns and cities. 

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