Turkey and Syria earthquake: Frantic rescue efforts continue, as number killed rises | World News

Fierce efforts to rescue hundreds of people trapped under rubble continued in the dark after a massive earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday morning, killing more than a dozen people. 3,500 people.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers search for rubble in cities and towns in the region.

Turkish authorities said at least 120 aftershocks occurred hours after the initial 7.8 magnitude quake.

Turkey-Syria earthquake – latest update

A second quake was measured at a magnitude of 7.5.

Emergency workers and residents in cities and towns in the area searched for survivors, working through huge piles of metal and concrete.

A hospital in Turkey also collapsed and patients, including infants, were evacuated from several facilities in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Due to the continuing efforts to clear debris from many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise.

“Hopefully we will leave these dire days behind in unity and solidarity as a nation and a nation.”

Erdogan has also declared seven days of national mourning.

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Aftershocks hit the news in Malatya

earthquakefeels as far as Cairo, centered on the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras in Turkey.

It attacked an area that had been shaped on both sides of the border by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.

The latest figures from Turkey’s disaster agency show 2,316 deaths have been recorded in 10 provinces, with around 11,000 people injured.

The timing of the earthquake caused the death toll to rise rapidly – and why it will be difficult to get aid to Syria

The images of southern Turkey and northwestern Syria are grim.

The earthquake happened before dawn, when most people were sleeping in bed.

That factor will likely add to the death toll, as well as severe aftershocks.

The coming hours will be crucial as rescuers race against time to find survivors. Turkey has declared a state of emergency and help is being pledged from around the world.

The situation in northern Syria is particularly worrisome. The area has experienced 12 years of civil war, which has damaged and weakened many buildings, and displaced hundreds of thousands of refugees due to the fighting.

Aid to this disputed area of ​​Syria will be a challenge in itself.

There is a large aid center nearby in Dubai, where warehouses full of medical and humanitarian supplies are ready to go if access to Turkey and Syria can be negotiated.

Turkey, which lies on a fault line, has a history of earthquakes and will therefore have some field expertise, but this looks like a major disaster that needs all of the country’s help. economic.

In areas controlled by the Syrian government, a total of 538 people were killed.

The Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, has confirmed 700 deaths in opposition-held areas, where about 4 million people have been displaced from other parts of the country. due to fighting.

According to the White Helmets organization, hundreds of families are still trapped in the rubble.

Medical facilities were strained and hospitals quickly filled with the injured, rescuers said. According to the health organization SAMS, other places must be cleared, including the maternity hospital.

Dr Muheeb Qaddour said by phone from the town of Atmeh in northern Syria: “We fear that the death toll is in the hundreds.

Buildings are reported to have collapsed over a large area stretching from the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 200 miles to the northeast.

Rescuers carry a girl out of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar TPX PHOTOS OF THE DAY.
Rescuers carry a girl out of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey
Building collapsed after earthquake in Malatya, Turkey
Building collapsed after earthquake in Malatya, Turkey

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said nearly 900 buildings had been destroyed in Turkey’s Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras provinces.

He said a hospital had collapsed in the Mediterranean coastal city of Iskenderun, but casualties were not immediately identified.

“Unfortunately, at the same time, we are also struggling with extremely extreme weather conditions,” Mr Oktay told reporters.

Nearly 2,800 search and rescue teams have been deployed in disaster-stricken areas, he added.

The United States Geological Survey measured Monday’s quake as 7.8. Hours later, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake was more than 60 miles away.

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Video from Kahramanmaras – the epicenter of the earthquake – shows rows of houses and businesses destroyed.

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An official from Turkey’s disaster management agency said it was a earthquakeIt was not an aftershock, although its impact was not immediately apparent.

The earthquake severely damaged Gaziantep’s most famous landmark, a historic castle perched on a hill in the city center.

Parts of the walls and watchtowers of the fortress were razed and other parts were severely damaged.

Gaziantep or Kalesi Castle in Gaziantep, Turkey
Gaziantep Castle in Gaziantep, Turkey

In Diyarbakir, hundreds of rescuers and civilians lined up through the mountain of rubble, passing broken concrete, furniture and other debris as they searched for trapped survivors.

In northwest Syria, the earthquake has added new woes to the opposition-held enclave in the center of Idlib province.

The opposition Syrian Civil Defense Force described the situation there as “catastrophic”, adding that the entire building had collapsed and people were trapped under the rubble.

An injured man looks at rescue workers searching for survivors under rubble, after an earthquake, in the rebel-held town of Jandaris, Syria
An injured man looks at rescuers searching for survivors under rubble, after an earthquake in the rebel-held town of Jandaris, Syria
Civil defense workers and residents search through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Harem near the Turkish border, Idlib province, Syria Photo: AP
Civil defense workers and residents search through rubble in the Syrian town of Harem (Pic: AP)

In the small Syrian rebel-controlled town of Azmarin in the mountains bordering Turkey, the bodies of several dead children, wrapped in blankets, were taken to the hospital.

“It’s like the end of the world,” said Abdul Salam al Mahmoud, a Syrian from the town of Atareb in the north of the country.

“It’s very cold and it’s raining heavily, and people need to be saved.”

Erdogan said early Monday that 45 countries had offered to help in search and rescue efforts.

For more details on international support click here

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the British government would “send immediate assistance”, with a team of 76 search and rescue experts, equipment and four sniffer dogs sent to Turkey.

“We have deployed a large search and rescue team with state-of-the-art life-saving equipment…

“With Syria, of course the situation is more complicated. But we have supported the White Helmets for many years… and will work through our UN partners on the field and have stepped up. special funding to deal with this situation.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the people of Turkiye and Syria this morning, especially with the first responders who worked so bravely to save those trapped by the earthquake. .

“The UK stands ready to help in any way it can.”

Several fault lines run through Turkey and Syria
Several fault lines run through Turkey and Syria

Turkey lies on major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes.

At least 18,000 people were killed in Strong earthquake occurred in northwest Turkey in 1999.

Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at University College London, told Sky News that Turkey and Syria have experienced “the worst kind of earthquakes”.

Turkey’s Deadly Earthquake History

Turkey and the surrounding area have been hit by several devastating earthquakes in recent years, killing thousands of people.

More than 3,000 people were killed in the earthquake that struck in the early hours of this morning. Dozens of aftershocks were also felt.

With a magnitude of 7.8, it was the strongest earthquake in Turkey since the Erzincan earthquake in December 1939 that killed about 32,000 people.

The area lies on the Anatolian Plate, adjacent to two major faults – the North Anatolian Fault lies west to east in Turkey, while the East Anatolian Fault lies in the southeastern part of the country.

Some of the deadliest earthquakes in the region have occurred in the past few decades.

October 30, 2020 – A magnitude 7.0 earthquake strikes the Aegean Sea with its epicenter near the Greek island of Samos. Turkey’s third largest city Izmir was hit hard, with a total of 119 people killed and more than 1,050 injured.

January 24, 2020 – More than 40 people are killed and more than 1,600 injured in a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the eastern province of Elazig. Vibrations were also felt in Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

October 23, 2011 – More than 600 people are killed when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes the eastern cities of Van and Ecris. A second quake struck just two weeks later, killing about 40 people and injuring hundreds more.

May 1, 2003 – More than 160 people are killed, including 83 children, in a school dormitory that collapses, in a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. About 1,000 people were injured in the disaster in the eastern city of Bingol.

November 12, 1999 – In the northwestern town of Ducze, nearly 1,000 people are killed in a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

August 17, 1999 – More than 17,000 people are killed in an earthquake that strikes the western city of Izmit, about 55 miles southeast of Istanbul. About half a million people lost their homes after the disaster.

“It was a very shallow earthquake underneath a densely populated area, a very strong earthquake and in an area where we could see buildings that couldn’t withstand this level of shaking.”

Mr Hicks said there was a “small chance” of a “stronger aftershock” or even another quake “bigger than the main one”.


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