A powerful earthquake hit Turkey and Syria: more than 1600 people died, thousands were buried under the rubble
A strong earthquake struck central Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6. More than 1600 people died and thousands were injured. It is not known how many more people are under the rubble, reports to Reuters.
An earthquake of magnitude 7,8, which occurred in the early winter morning on February 6, was the strongest in Turkey this century. It was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon. It was followed by another strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7,7.
Rescuers struggle to rescue people from the rubble.
“We were shaking a lot. There were nine of us at home. My two sons are still lying under the rubble, I am waiting to be found alive,” said a woman with a broken arm and facial injuries near the rubble of her seven-story house in Diyarbakır, southeast Turkey.
1014 deaths were registered in Turkey, 574 in Syria. Thousands of houses were destroyed in both countries, more than 6 were affected.
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Erdogan said he could not predict how much the death toll would increase as search and rescue efforts continued.
“Everyone puts their heart and soul into the effort, although the winter season, cold weather and an overnight earthquake complicate things,” he said.
A live broadcast by the Turkish state television channel TRT showed the collapse of a building in the southern province of Adana after the second earthquake. It was not immediately clear whether people had been evacuated from the building.
In Syria, already ravaged by more than 11 years of civil war, the health ministry said more than 570 people have died and 1042 have been injured. Rescuers reported that 221 people died in the northwest.
In Diyarbakır, dozens of rescuers search rubble piles, all that is left of a large building, clearing the rubble for survivors. Occasionally they raise their hands and call for silence, listening to the sounds from under the rubble.
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“We were woken up by a lot of noise and a lot of shaking. There were two aftershocks right after that,” said Meriem, 29, from the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, near the epicenter.
“I was so scared, I thought it would never stop. I took some things for my one year old son and left the building,” she said.
The video shows two neighboring buildings collapsing one after the other in Aleppo, Syria, filling the street with billowing dust. Two residents of the city, which was heavily damaged during the war, said the buildings collapsed hours after the quake.
Like an apocalypse
In the Syrian rebel-held city of Jandaris in the province of Aleppo, a pile of concrete, steel bars and bales of clothes lie on the site of an apartment building.
“There were 12 families there. No one survived. No one,” said a lean young man with eyes wide open in shock and a bandaged arm.
Raed Fares of the Syrian White Helmets, a rescue service in rebel-held territory that is known for pulling people out of the ruins of buildings destroyed by airstrikes, said they are "competing against time to save the lives of those under the rubble." .
Abdul Salam al-Mahmud, a Syrian from the city of Atareb, said it was "like an apocalypse".
Syrian state television aired footage of rescuers looking for survivors in the pouring rain and sleet. President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss next steps, his office said.
People in Damascus and the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli ran outside and got into cars to leave their homes, fearing collapses, according to eyewitnesses.
Footage from CNNTurk showed that the historic Gaziantep Castle was severely damaged.
In the Turkish city of Malatya, a rescue worker crawled into a collapsed building, trying to identify a survivor trapped under rubble, in footage released by Turkey's Emergency and Disaster Management Authority (AFAD).
"What color are your clothes? Are you wearing pink? Please, take care of yourself for now, I can’t see anything else, ”the rescuer was heard to say.
The strongest earthquake since 1999
Erdogan said 45 countries have offered assistance in search and rescue efforts.
The United States was "deeply concerned" by the quake and was following the events closely, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Twitter. “We are ready to provide any assistance needed,” he said.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at a depth of 17,9 km. A series of earthquakes are reported, one of magnitude 6,7.
The region is crossed by a line of seismic faults.
“The combination of high magnitude and shallow depth made this earthquake extremely destructive,” said Mohammad Kashani, assistant professor of structural engineering and earthquakes.
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It was the strongest earthquake in Turkey since 1999, when an earthquake of similar magnitude devastated Izmit and the densely populated eastern Marmara region near Istanbul, killing more than 17 people.
The tremors were felt in the Turkish capital Ankara, 460 km northwest of the epicenter, and in Cyprus, where police reported no damage.
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