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Turkey-Syria Earthquake Kills over 350 and Collapses over 2000 Buildings

The Turkish disaster agency declared a "level 4 alarm" that calls for international assistance

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

TURKEY: A powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northwest Syria early on Monday, killing more than 100 people as buildings trumbled across the snowy area, sparking a search for survivors trapped under the wreckage.

The earthquake, which occurred in the pitch-black early hours of a winter morning, was also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.

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The US Geological Survey reported that a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT) close to the city of Gaziantep at a depth of 17.9 kilometres (11 miles).

The quake lasted for roughly a minute and broke windows, said a witness in Diyarbakir, 350 kilometres (218 miles) to the east.

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Turkey’s disaster service said there were 76 deaths and 440 injuries. Rescue crews and planes were sent to the area, and a “level 4 alarm” was issued, which asks for help from other countries.

As per Syrian state media, more than 100 people were killed and dozens wounded in Syria, the majority of whom were in the provinces of Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia, where multiple buildings had been torn down.

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An official with the White Helmets rescue group described the situation as “very tragic,” referring to the city of Salqin, which is about 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the Turkish border. “Dozens of buildings have collapsed there,” the official said in a video posted on Twitter.

Homes were “totally destroyed,” the rescuer said in the video footage, which featured a street covered in debris. Residents of Tripoli, Beirut, and Damascus in Lebanon, as well as the capital city of Syria, Damascus, left their homes on foot or in their cars in case a building collapsed, witnesses said.

Erdem, a Turkish resident, said that in Turkey’s Gaziantep, inhabitants had abandoned their shaking homes and were too terrified to return.

A witness reported that the tremor, which occurred 350 kilometres (218 miles) to the east in Diyarbakir, broke windows and caused at least 17 structures to collapse.

Authorities said that 34 buildings collapsed in Osmaniye and 16 in Sanliurfa.

In Kahramanmaras, where it was still dark, the television stations TRT and Haberturk broadcast footage of people rummaging through building rubble, shifting stretchers, and looking for survivors.

According to the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the earthquake happened at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) near the city of Kahramanmaras in southern Turkey. The EMSC monitoring agency said that the risk of a tsunami was being looked into.

Following the initial tremor, which the USGS estimated to have been of magnitude 7.8, a number of further earthquakes were observed. In the city of Gaziantep, there were two earthquakes: one measuring 6.7 and the other 5.6 in the Nurdag region.

Near the larger cities of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras, which are both close to the Syrian border, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey (AFAD) estimated the magnitude of the earthquake at 7.4.

Additionally, tremors were felt in Cyprus, where no damage was recorded by the police, and in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, which is located 460 kilometres (286 miles) from the epicentre.

The area is often hit by strong earthquakes because it is on seismic fault lines, which makes it prone to earthquakes.

Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security advisor, said on Twitter that the US was “profoundly concerned” about the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and was closely watching what was going on.

The director of the Turkish Red Cross asked residents to vacate damaged homes as the organisation was mobilising services for the area after learning of catastrophic damage and collapsed buildings.

Turkey is one of the nations with the highest earthquake risk. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake that devastated Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul, in 1999 resulted in the deaths of almost 17,000 people. Over 500 people were killed in the eastern city of Van’s earthquake in 2011.

Also Read: 6.2-magnitude Earthquake Strikes Indonesia’s Sumatra

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