Wednesday Jun 7, 2023
Wednesday Jun 7, 2023

Powerful quake kills at least 560 people in Turkey, Syria


Nepalnews
2023 Feb 06, 13:13, Turkey

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, toppling buildings and killing at least 568 people. With hundreds injured, the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched the rubble in cities and towns across the area.

On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy winter night, as buildings were flattened and strong aftershocks continued.

Rescue workers and residents in multiple cities searched for survivors, working through tangles of metal and giant piles of concrete.

In the Turkish city of Adana, one resident said three buildings near his home collapsed. “I don’t have the strength anymore,” one survivor could be heard calling out from beneath the rubble as rescue workers tried to reach him, said the resident, journalism student Muhammet Fatih Yavus. Further east in Diyarbakir, cranes and rescue teams rushed people on stretchers out of a mountain of pancaked concrete floors that was once an apartment building.

On the Syrian side of the border, the quake smashed opposition-held regions that are packed with some 4 million people displaced from other parts of Syria by the country’s long civil war. Many of them live in decrepit conditions with little health care. Rescue workers said hospitals in the area were quickly filled with the injured.

“We fear that the deaths are in the hundreds,” Muheeb Qaddour, a doctor, said by phone from the town of Atmeh, referring to the entire rebel-held area. Raed Salah, the head of the White Helmets, the emergency organization in opposition areas, said whole neighborhoods were collapsed in some areas.

The quake, felt as far away as Cairo, struck a region that has been shaped by more than a decade of civil war in Syria. Millions of Syrian refugees live in Turkey. The swath of Syria affected by the quake is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. The quake was centered about 90 kilometers (60 miles) from the Syrian border outside the city of Gaziantep, a major Turkish provincial capital.

At least 20 aftershocks followed, some hours later during daylight, the strongest measuring 6.6, Turkish authorities said.

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