Two powerful earthquakes hit southern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday, killing more than 2,350 people as it toppled buildings and triggered a frantic search for survivors in the rubble in cities and towns across the area.
The powerful quakes, was strongly felt in Lebanon and Cyprus and caused panic there as it lasted for forty seconds. According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, the quake was also felt in Palestine, Egypt, Georgia, Romania.
The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.8 earthquake was centered about 33km (20 miles) from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital in central Turkey. It was about 18km (11 miles) deep, with a 7.5 quake hitting in the same region hours later amid several aftershocks.
The morning quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, with the strongest one having a magnitude of 6.6.
The massive quakes killed 1,651 people and injured more than 11,119 others in Turkey, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority announced.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the death toll at 912 people.
“So far, 912 people have died and 5,385 people have been injured, 2,470 people have been rescued,” Erdogan said.
The City of İskenderun in Southern Turkey has suffered some of the most Severe Damage caused by the Earthquake, there are reports that Fire and Rescue Crews are unable to get to many parts of the City with 100s if not 1000s of people expected to still be under collapsed buildings pic.twitter.com/kMV2hgEBXZ
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) February 6, 2023
Ankara received assistance offers from over 45 countries after the earthquake, the Turkish president said, adding that more than 9,000 people are involved in rescue operations.
The earthquake of 7.7 magnitude that occurred in Turkey on Monday was the most powerful since 1939, Erdogan said.
“Tonight… we experienced the most powerful disaster that we have experienced in the last century after the earthquake in Erzincan in 1939,” Erdogan said, speaking from the office for the coordination of work to eliminate the consequences of the earthquake.
In Syria, already devastated by more than 11 years of foreign-backed insurgency, the quake has killed 783 people and injured 1,326 others in provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, Syrian Health Ministry said in a statement.
President Bashar al-Assad was holding an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss the next steps, his office said.
Raed Ahmed, who heads Syria’s National Earthquake Center, told pro-government radio that this was “historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center”. It was also the most powerful earthquake in Turkey since 1999, when a 7.4 magnitude earthquake killed over 17,000.
The video below, circulated on social media shows a building in Syria’s Aleppo collapsing moments after the first quake on Monday morning.
In Lebanon, quake jolted residents in Tripoli, Beirut and several cities from beds, shaking buildings for about 40 seconds. Panicked residents reported on social media that they were woken up from sleep by the strong quake as many took to the streets or drove in their cars away from buildings in several regions despite the bad weather.
Caretaker PM Najib Mikati tasked Minister of Public Works Ali Hamieh to contact Syrian authorities and offer aid following the quake.
Source: Al Manar/Agencies
CCTV footage in Lebanon show earthquake strength far from epicentre.
Emergency teams (paramedics and specialized doctors), equipped mobile clinics, and supply vehicles (medicines, emergency and surgical supplies) were sent from the central administration in Damascus, Homs and Tartous to Aleppo and Lattakia.
Deputy Minister of Health: Death toll from the earthquake has risen to 313 deaths and 639 injuries