Local News

Turkey and Syria shaken by powerful earthquake, more than 1300 dead

Turkey and Syria shaken by powerful earthquake, more than 1300 dead

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake rattled wide areas of Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and structures. killed over 1,300 people, Hundreds are still believed to be trapped under the rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescuers search for mounds of rubble in cities and towns across the region.

On both sides of the border, residents shaken by the pre-dawn earthquake came out into the cold, rainy and snowy night. Buildings were reduced to heaps of paved floors, while major aftershocks, some as strong as before, continued.

In several cities, rescue workers and residents searched for survivors, working their way through tangles of metal and concrete. A hospital in Turkey collapsed, and patients, including newborns, were evacuated to facilities in Syria.

A resident in the Turkish city of Adana said three buildings near his house collapsed. “I have no more strength,” journalism student Muhammad Fatih Yavas said, a survivor could be heard calling out from under the rubble as rescuers tried to reach him.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “As efforts continue to clear debris from many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise.” “Hopefully, we will put these disastrous days behind us in unity and togetherness as a country and as a nation.”

The earthquake, which was centered north of the Turkish provincial capital Gaziantep, was felt as far away as Cairo. It sent residents of Damascus on the street, and woke people in Beirut in their beds.

It struck an area that has been shaped by more than a decade of civil war in Syria on both sides of the border. On the Syrian side, the affected area is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Turkey, meanwhile, is home to millions of refugees from that conflict.

READ ALSO :   Woman found dead on busy NJ highway on Christmas Day

Some four million people have been displaced from other parts of the country by the fighting in opposition-held areas in Syria. Many of them live in buildings that have already been ruined by the bombings. The White Helmets opposition emergency organization said in a statement that hundreds of families were trapped under the rubble.

Rescuers said strained health facilities and hospitals were quickly filled with the injured. Others, including the maternity hospital, had to be evacuated, according to the SAMS medical organization.

The region lies on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. A similarly powerful earthquake in 1999 in northwest Turkey killed about 18,000 people. The US Geological Survey measured Monday’s earthquake at 7.8. Officials said at least 20 aftershocks occurred, including one with a magnitude of 7.5.

Thousands of buildings were reported to have collapsed over a wide area stretching more than 330 kilometers (200 mi) to the northeast, from the cities of Aleppo and Hama in Syria to Diyarbakฤฑr in Turkey. A hospital collapsed in the Mediterranean coastal city of Iskenderun, but casualties were not immediately known, said Fuat Oktay, his vice president.

Television stations in Turkey split the screen into four or five, showing live coverage from rescue efforts in the worst-hit provinces. In the city of Kahramanmaras, rescuers pulled two children alive from the rubble, while others tried to reach a relative.

Offers of help ranged from search-and-rescue teams to medical supplies and money from dozens of countries, as well as the European Union and NATO.

The damage evident from photographs of affected areas is usually associated with a significant loss of life โ€“ while the bitter cold and the difficulty of working in areas beset by civil war will only complicate rescue efforts, Dr Steven Godby, Director of Natural Affairs The expert said the danger at Nottingham Trent University.

READ ALSO :   Investigation underway after Douglas Avenue shooting

In Turkey, people trying to leave earthquake-hit areas caused traffic jams, hampering the efforts of emergency teams trying to reach the affected areas. The administration has appealed to the people not to hit the streets. Mosques around the area were opened to provide shelter for those unable to return to damaged homes amid temperatures hovering near freezing.

The earthquake heavily damaged Gaziantep’s most famous landmark, its historic palace perched atop a hill in the center of the city. Parts of the fort’s walls and watch towers were leveled and other parts heavily damaged, photos of the city showed.

In Diyarbakฤฑr, hundreds of rescue workers and civilians formed lines across a mountain of rubble, wading through pieces of broken concrete, household items and other debris to search for those trapped, while excavators dug through the rubble below.

In northwest Syria, the earthquake added new perils to the opposition-held enclave centered on Idlib province, which has been under siege for years with frequent Russian and government airstrikes. The region relies on an influx of aid from nearby Turkey for everything from food to medical supplies.

The opposition Syrian Civil Defense described the situation there as “catastrophic”.

Osama Abdelhamid, who was being treated at a hospital in Idlib, said most of his neighbors had died. He said their shared four-storey building collapsed as he, his wife and three children ran towards the exit. A wooden door fell on them and acted as a shield.

“I am reborn, thank God,” he said.

In the small town of Azmarin, held by Syrian rebels in the mountains near the Turkish border, bodies of several dead children wrapped in blankets were brought to the hospital.

READ ALSO :   UPEPA was tested in the context of an anti-SLAPP dispute over psychological transfers with a dead person in Al-Albustani

The Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Saira said the earthquake caused some damage to the Merkab, or watchtower, castle built by the Crusaders on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Part of a tower and part of some walls collapsed.

The USGS said the earthquake was centered about 33 kilometers (20 mi) from Gaziantep. It was 18 kilometers (11 mi) deep.

According to the President of Turkey, more than 900 people were killed in 10 provinces of Turkey, while more than 5,400 were injured. The death toll in Syria’s government-held areas has risen to more than 330, with nearly 1,000 wounded, according to the health ministry. According to the White Helmets, more than 200 people were killed in rebel-held areas, although the SAMS medical organization put the death toll at more than 135; Both said hundreds were hurt.

Hรผseyin Yayman, a lawmaker from Turkey’s Hatay province, said several members of his family were buried under the rubble of their homes.

“Many others are also trapped,” he told Haberturk television by telephone. “There are so many buildings that have been damaged. People are on the streets. It is raining, it is cold.

The Latest

To Top