Know Turkey’s Current Situation: A 7.8-Magnitude Earthquake Killed Over 600 People.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday, killing hundreds of people while they slept, leveling houses, and sending shocks as far away as Cyprus and Egypt.
Building collapses killed at least 386 people in Syria on Monday. According to AFP correspondents in northern Syria, scared locals fled their homes shortly after the earthquake struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Syrian border.
According to state media, the earthquake killed at least 239 people and injured at least 648 more in government-controlled areas of Syria, including Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus.
According to rescue workers, at least 147 people were killed and more than 340 were injured in rebel-held areas of the country’s northwest.
One of the largest to hit Turkey in at least a century, it levelled significant areas of major cities in a region teeming with millions of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war and other crises.
The chairman of Syria’s National Earthquake Centre, Raed Ahmed, told pro-government media that this was “historically, the greatest earthquake recorded in the history of the center”.
According to the health ministry and a local hospital, at least 245 people died in government-controlled areas of Syria, as well as northern areas held by pro-Turkish forces.
At least 284 people were killed in Turkey, according to Vice President Fuat Oktay, who also indicated that over 2,300 others were injured and that search and rescue efforts were ongoing in numerous major cities.
A winter blizzard buried main routes in ice and snow, complicating the rescue.
Images on television showed stunned citizens in Turkey standing in the snow in their pyjamas, watching rescuers rummage through the debris of destroyed homes.
Erdogan faces an election litmus test
The quake occurred at 04:17 a.m. local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of around 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which has a population of about two million people, according to the US Geological Survey.
The first quake had a magnitude of 7.4 according to Turkey’s AFAD emergency response center, and it was followed by more than 40 aftershocks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will be under enormous pressure to oversee an effective reaction to the accident as the country prepares for a closely contested election on May 14, expressed his sympathies and urged national togetherness.
“We want to get through this calamity together as fast as possible and with as little damage as possible,” Turkey’s president tweeted.
Washington is “very concerned,” according to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“We stand ready to provide any and all support that is required,” Sullivan added.
The earthquake struck a restive, largely Kurdish region of Turkey bordering Syria, a country devastated by a decade of war that has killed hundreds of thousands and uprooted millions
People buried under rubble
Rescuers were seen sifting through the wreckage of levelled buildings in Kahramanmaras and neighboring Gaziantep, where huge portions of cities had been demolished, according to images shown on Turkish media.
In one shot from Kahramanmaras, a fire lighted up the night sky, although its origin was unknown.
Buildings collapsed in Adiyaman, Malatya, and Diyarbakir, where AFP reporters watched scared people rush out onto the streets.
Because so many structures were demolished, Kahramanmaras Governor Omer Faruk Coskun said it was too early to estimate the death toll.
“At the time, it is not possible to give the number of dead and injured because so many properties have been damaged,” Coskun stated. “The damage is severe.”
A historic mosque from the 13th century partially fell in the province of Maltaya, as did a 14-story building with 28 flats.
Anguished rescuers struggled to reach survivors buried beneath the wreckage in neighboring places.
“We hear sounds here and there,” one rescuer was caught saying on NTV television in front of a collapsed structure in Diyarbakir.
“There could be 200 individuals beneath the rubble.”