Earthquake in Turkey and Syria, what we know so far?

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling buildings and forcing people from their homes in terror on a cold winter night. At least 100 people died and the death toll is expected to rise.

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

A spokesman for the Syrian Ministry of Health has indicated that the balance, which is provisional, includes victims from several cities such as the capital, Aleppo, in the north of the country; Hama, 140 kilometres south of the capital; or Latakia, in the west, according to what the Sana news agency has learned.

In addition, a general emergency and supply plan has been implemented in the affected places, while medical teams, including ambulances and mobile clinics, have been dispatched from various regions.

The country’s authorities have indicated that there are several dozen residential buildings, located in various neighbourhoods, which have collapsed as a result of the earthquakes.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred about 33 km from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital. It was centred 18 kilometres down, according to the US Geological Survey.

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency, AFAD, has reported that the quake was 7.4 and had its epicentre in the city of Pazarcik, in the province of Kahramanmaras, from where the first images of the destruction arrived.

Several million displaced

On the Syrian side of the border, the quake rocked opposition-controlled regions that are teeming with several million displaced Syrians with a decrepit health system after years of war. At least 30 people died in the town of Atmed, and many more were buried in the rubble, a local doctor, Muheeb Qaddour, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

“There are fears that there are hundreds of deaths,” Qaddor said, referring to the northwestern region of the country. “We are under extreme pressure.”

Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the affected areas.

“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least amount of damage,” he added.

There were at least 6 aftershocks and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu urged people not to enter damaged buildings due to risks.

“Our priority is to get people trapped under ruined buildings and transfer them to hospitals,” he added.

Officials differ on the death toll, noting that at least 18 people were killed in Turkey and 13 in Syria. At least 130 buildings collapsed in Turkey’s Malatya province, Governor Hulusi Sahin said.

On the other hand, the director general of the National Seismic Center, Raed Ahmed, explained to Sana that this earthquake is “the strongest” since 1995 when the national seismic monitoring network was installed.


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