Scores killed as powerful earthquake rocks Turkey, Syria
Ankara, Feb 6 (EFE).- Scores of people have been killed in Turkey and Syria after a powerful earthquake hit southeastern Turkey before dawn on Monday.
At around 4.17 am local time (01:17 GMT), a magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck Kahramanmaras province at a depth of 7 kilometers (4.3 miles), Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said.
The US Geological Survey put the tremor at M7.8 at a depth of 17.9 km near the city of Gaziantep.
In Turkey, at least 76 people have been killed and 440 people have been injured, according to an initial report by the AFAD at 03:30 GMT.
Authorities called for international assistance as search and rescue work continues in 10 provinces.
In Syria, at least 42 deaths and 200 injuries have been recorded in the governorates of Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia, according to the assistant health minister to the state Sana news outlet.
The earthquakes were also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
At least 42 aftershocks, including the largest measuring M6.6, have followed in the two hours since the earthquake, according to the AFAD, and it is feared that the death toll will rise sharply in the coming hours.
First live images broadcast on Turkish news networks showed collapsed buildings and vehicles crushed in rubble.
Yildirim Kurt, a farmer based near Kahramanmaras, told EFE by phone that the people in the area were “in a panic.”
“We woke up to a strong earthquake. Our house did not collapse but everything inside the house has fallen to the ground,” he said, adding that temperatures in the area were below zero.
“Our neighbors’ house has collapsed. We have a problem with communications. We are all outside, in the open air. I was able to speak with relatives in nearby towns. They say that many buildings have collapsed there,” Kurt said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the areas affected by the earthquake” that was felt in “many parts of our country.”
“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage, and we continue our work,” he said.
This is the largest earthquake recorded in Turkey since the M7.6 shake in Izmit in 1999 at a depth of 15km, which caused more than 18,000 deaths.
In 2011 a M7.2 tremor shook Van causing 600 deaths, and in 2020 a M7 shook Izmir causing more than 115 deaths. EFE