Huge quake kills over 3,000 in Turkey, Syria

ISTANBUL/DAMASCUS: More than 3,000 people across a swathe of Turkey and northwest Syria were killed on Monday, as a huge earthquake brought down thousands of apartment blocks in cities in both the countries and piling more devastation on millions of Syrians displaced by years of war

The earth shook before sunrise in harsh weather and was followed in the early afternoon by another large quake

A freezing winter weather added to the plight of the thousands left injured or homeless, while hampering efforts to find survivors

The first earthquake of 7

8 struck at 4:17am local time at a depth of about 18 kilometres near Gaziantep in Turkey, which is home to around two million people, the US Geological Survey said

It was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7

5-magnitude tremor that jolted the region in the middle of rescue

Denmark’s geological institute said tremors reached the east coast of Greenland about eight minutes later

The earthquake was the biggest recorded worldwide by the US Geological survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021

Turkey’s emergencies service said at least 1,762 people had died, with at least 1,293 confirmed fatalities in neighbouring Syria, putting the total at 3,055

In Turkey, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said more than 12,000 were injured

Syrian authorities put the number of injured people at 3,411

Some of the heaviest devastation occurred near the epicentre between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, where entire city blocks lay in ruins under gathering snow

The Syrian health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus

Monday’s casualties already mark the highest death toll from an earthquake in Turkey since 1999, when a tremor of similar magnitude devastated the heavily populated eastern Marmara Sea region near Istanbul, killing more than 17,000

Read Indonesia says magnitude 7 quake off Sulawesi, residents flee buildings Monday’s tremors hit as people were still sleeping and amid freezing weather

Multi-storey apartment buildings full of residents were among the 5,606 structures reduced to rubble in Turkey, while Syria announced dozens of collapses, as well as damage to archaeological sites in Aleppo

A famous mosque dating back to the 13th century partially collapsed in the Turkish province of Maltaya, along with a 14-story residential building with 92 residents

In Diyarbakir, dozens of rescue workers searching through a mound of debris, all that was left of a big building

Turkish officials said the earthquake made three major airports in the area inoperable, besides damaging the port of Iskenderun, further complicating deliveries of vital aid

The earthquake also halted operations at major oil export hub in Ceyhan and stopped key crude oil flows from Iraq and Azerbaijan

Turkey declared seven days of mourning for the dead

President Tayyip Erdogan, who is preparing for a tough election in May, called it a historic disaster and the worst earthquake to hit the country since 1939

However, he assured that the authorities were doing all they could

“Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night makes things more difficult,” he said

Erdogan said 45 countries had offered help the search and rescue efforts

The United States, the European Union and Russia all immediately sent condolences

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to provide “the necessary assistance” to Turkey

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss the next steps, his office said

In the government-controlled city of Aleppo, footage on Twitter showed two neighbouring buildings collapsing one after the other, filling streets with billowing dust

Read Also US military searches for balloon remnants as China urges restraint In the rebel-held town of Jandaris in Aleppo province, a mound of concrete, steel rods and bundles of clothes lay where a multi-storey building once stood

“There were 12 families under there

Not a single one came out

Not one,” said a thin young man, his eyes wide open in shock and his hand bandaged

Poor internet connections and damaged roads between some of the worst-hit cities in Turkey’s south, homes to millions of people, hindered efforts to assess and address the impact

Rain fell on Monday after snowstorms swept the country at the weekend

The second quake was big enough to bring down more buildings and, like the first, was felt across the region, endangering rescuers struggling to pull casualties from the rubble

Temperatures in some areas were expected to fall to near freezing overnight, worsening conditions for people trapped under rubble

The United Nations said that 4

1 million people, many of them displaced by the 11 years of war and living in camps, depend already on cross-border humanitarian aid in northwest Syria and international support efforts are stretched and underfunded

Date:08-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link