the provisional toll rises to more than 2,600 dead

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, February 6. At least 570 dead and 1,403 injured were counted in the Syrian government zone by an initial report from the Ministry of Health. 430 dead and 1,050 injured were also recorded by the White Helmets rescuers in the rebel areas. In Turkey, at least 1,651 people have been killed and more than 11,159 injured, according to data released by the Turkish government. 3,471 buildings have collapsed, raising fears of even heavier tolls in addition to the hundreds of deaths in neighboring Syria.

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According to the American seismological institute USGS, the earthquake took place at 4:17 a.m. local time (1:17 a.m. GMT), at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers. The epicenter is located in the district of Pazarcik, in the province of Kahramanmaras (south-east), about 60 km as the crow flies from the Syrian border.

This earthquake is the most important that Turkey has known since the earthquake of August 17, 1999, which caused the death of 17,000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.

People still under the rubble

According to Fuat Oktay, more than a thousand buildings have completely collapsed, raising fears of even heavier tolls.

“We hear voices here and there. We think maybe 200 people are under the rubble.”said a rescuer dispatched to a destroyed building in Diyarbakir, according to images broadcast on the NTV channel.

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According to Afad, the earthquake that occurred overnight had a magnitude of 7.4 and a depth of 7 km. The tremors, felt across the southeast of the country, were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus, according to AFP correspondents.

Buildings have been destroyed in many cities in the south-east of the country, according to images broadcast by the Turkish media, raising fears of a much heavier toll.

Call for international help

An AFP correspondent in Diyarbakir, a large city in the south-east of the country, saw a collapsed building, with rescuers hard at work trying to extricate people from the rubble. On Twitter, Turkish Internet users shared the identity and location of people trapped under the rubble in several cities in the south-east of the country.

Fifty aftershocks were recorded in Turkey, according to Afad.

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“All our teams are on alert. We have issued a level four alarm. It is a call, including for international aid.said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on the Haberturk channel.

“Our teams are on alert to rescue survivors”also said the Syrian “white helmets”, rescue workers engaged in rebel areas in Syria, on Twitter.

Shortly after, the European Union announced the dispatch of rescue teams to Turkey. Berlin also promised to send help while Rome offered help from Italian civil protection.

One of the most active seismic zones in the world

The governor of Gaziantep province called on residents to gather outside despite the cold, while the head of Diyanet, the Turkish public body responsible for supervising worship, called on Turks in need to find refuge in mosques.

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Turkish rescuers and civil defense as well as Syrian firefighters were at work on Monday morning to try to extract possible victims from the rubble, according to local media.

Turkey is located on one of the most active seismic zones in the world. At the end of November, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck northwestern Turkey, injuring around 50 people and causing limited damage, according to the Turkish emergency services.

In January 2020, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the provinces of Elazig and Malatya (East), killing more than 40 people. In October of the same year, a magnitude 7 earthquake in the Aegean Sea killed 114 people and injured more than 1,000 in Turkey.

Source : Nouvelobs

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