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Turkey quake death toll up to 459

ERCIS, Turkey -- After 48 hours, a miracle emerged from a narrow slit in rubble of a Turkish apartment building: a 2-week-old baby girl, half-naked but still breathing.

Stoic rescue workers erupted in cheers and applause at her arrival -- and later for her mother's and grandmother's rescues -- a ray of uplifting news on an otherwise grim day.

The bad news just kept on coming yesterday: The death toll from Sunday's 7.2-magnitude earthquake climbed to at least 459, desperate survivors fought over aid and blocked aid shipments and a powerful aftershock ignited widespread panic that turned into a prison riot in the provincial city of Van.

With thousands of quake survivors facing a third night out in the open in near-freezing temperatures, Turkey set aside its national pride and said it would accept international aid offers, even from Israel, with which it has had strained relations.

The fact that three generations were saved in a dramatic operation was all the more remarkable because the infant, Azra Karaduman, was declared healthy after being flown to a hospital in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

"Bringing them out is such happiness. I wouldn't be happier if they gave me tons of money," said rescuer Oytun Gulpinar.

Television footage showed rescuer Kadir Direk in an orange jumpsuit, wriggling into a pile of concrete and warped metal -- what was left from a five-story apartment block -- and then wriggling out with tiny Azra, clad only in a T-shirt.

"Praise be!" someone shouted. "Get out of the way!" another person yelled as the aid team and bystanders cleared a path to a waiting ambulance.

In a separate rescue later yesterday, 10-year-old Serhat Gur was pulled from the rubble of another building after being trapped for 54 hours, but he died later at a hospital, state-run TRT television reported.

The pockets of jubilation were tempered by many more discoveries of bodies in the worst-hit town of Ercis and other communities in eastern Turkey. Some 2,000 buildings collapsed, but the fact that the tremor hit in daytime, when many people were out of their homes, averted an even worse disaster.

Close to 500 aftershocks have since rattled the area, according to Turkey's Kandilli seismology center. A strong one yesterday sent residents rushing into the streets in panic while sparking a riot by prisoners in the eastern city of Van. The U.S. Geological Survey put that temblor at a magnitude of 5.7.

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