- 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southeast Turkey causes death and damage.
- 237 confirmed dead in Turkey-Syria earthquake, death toll may rise.
- Buildings collapse in several cities in central Turkey, rescue efforts underway.
After a 7.8-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in southeast Turkey on Monday, at least 237 people died in government-held areas of Syria, according to the health ministry.
According to a statement from the ministry, 237 people died and 639 were injured in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Tartus.
Earlier, a hospital informed AFP that at least eight people had died in the northern regions controlled by pro-Turkish factions as a result of the earthquake, raising the country’s death toll to at least 245 overall.
Horrific news of tonight’s earthquake in #Turkey & northern #Syria — the damage looks extensive.— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) February 6, 2023
The epicenter region is home to millions of refugees and IDPs, many of whom live in tents & makeshift structures. This is the absolute nightmare scenario for them. And it’s winter. pic.twitter.com/oACzWYtWb2
According to the US agency, the earthquake was felt at a depth of around 17.9 kilometres (11 miles) at 04:17 local time (0117 GMT), and 15 minutes later, an aftershock measuring 6.7 magnitude was felt.
The initial earthquake’s magnitude was estimated by Turkey’s AFAD emergency service centre to be 7.4.
The quake was among the strongest to strike the rehion in at least a century.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted, “I convey my best wishes to all our citizens who were affected by the earthquake.”
The earthquake destroyed dozens of buildings in major southern Turkish cities as well as in the neighbouring country of Syria, which has been ravaged by violence for more than ten years and is home to millions of displaced people.
Rescuers were seen sifting through the debris of demolished buildings in the cities of Karamanmaras and Gaziantep in images that appeared on Turkish television and social media. In one of the images from Kahramanmaras, a fire lighted up the night sky, but its source was unknown.
Buildings also collapsed, according to NTV television, in the cities of Adiyaman, Malatya, and Diyarbakir.The earthquake was reportedly felt in sections of central Turkey including the capital Ankara, according to CNN Turk television.
On the country’s west coast, close to Latakia, a building fell, according to Syrian official media.
In Hama, central Syria, civil defence and firefighters were attempting to rescue people from the rubble, according to pro-government media.
According to the head of Syria’s National Earthquake Center, Raed Ahmed, this was “historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the centre,” he told pro-government radio.
Naci Gorur, an expert on earthquakes with the Turkish Academy of Sciences, pleaded with local officials to check the region’s dams for cracks right once to prevent possibly disastrous flooding. Turkey is located in one of the earthquake prone regions of the world.
The worst earthquake to strike Turkey in decades struck the Duzce region of Turkey in 1999 with a 7.4 magnitude. More than 17,000 people were killed in that earthquake, including roughly 1,000 people in Istanbul.
Experts have long cautioned that Istanbul, which has permitted extensive building without safety precautions, may be completely destroyed by a huge earthquake.
In January 2020, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck Elazig, killing around 40 people. Additionally, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Turkey’s Aegean coast in October of that same year left more than 1,000 people injured.