Large earthquake strikes Turkey, Syria; many dead, many trapped According to Reuters

By Umit Ozdal and Ece Toksabay

DIYARBKIR/ANKARA, Turkey (Reuters) – A massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit central Turkey and northwestern Syria on Monday, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. as buildings collapse, while also triggering searches for survivors trapped in the rubble across the snow-covered region.

The quake, which struck in the early darkness of a winter morning, was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.

“I’ve never felt anything like it in the 40 years I’ve lived,” said Erdem, a resident of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicenter.

“We were shaken vigorously at least three times, like a baby in a crib.”

Turkey’s disaster agency said 76 people were killed and 440 injured as authorities mobilized rescue teams and provided planes to the area around the city of Kahramanmaras, declaring “an alarm” level 4″ calls for international support.

Syrian state media reported that a large number of buildings collapsed in Aleppo province, while a source from the Hama civil service said buildings also collapsed there.

“Paintings fell off the walls of the house,” said Samer, a resident of the capital Damascus. “I woke up in fear. Now we’re all dressed and standing at the door.”

Witnesses said people in Damascus and the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli ran into the streets and into cars to leave their buildings in case they collapsed.

In Turkey’s Gaziantep, Erdem also said people had fled their shaking homes and were too scared to return.

“People are sitting in their cars or trying to drive to gaps away from buildings,” Erdem said by phone. “I imagine not a single person in Gaziantep is in their house now.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Twitter that the United States is “deeply concerned” about the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and is closely monitoring events.

“I have contacted Turkish officials to relay that we are ready to provide all necessary assistance,” he said.


According to a Reuters witness in Diyarbakir, 350 kilometers (218 miles) to the east, the quake lasted about a minute and broke windows, and according to a security official, there were at least 17 buildings. collapsed.

Authorities said 16 structures collapsed in Sanliurfa and 34 in Osmaniye.

TV stations TRT and Haberturk showed people picking up building debris, moving stretchers and searching for survivors in Kahramanmaras, where it was still dark.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters: “Our main job is to conduct search and rescue work and for that, all of our teams are on alert. moving”.

The German Geosciences Research Center (GFZ) said the quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), while the EMSC monitoring service said it was assessing the risk of a tsunami.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a series of earthquakes that followed the initial tremor, with a magnitude of 7.8. There was a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Gaziantep and another 5.6 magnitude earthquake in the Nurdag area of ​​the city.

The Turkish Emergency and Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 near Kahramanmaras and the large city of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.

Vibrations were also felt in the Turkish capital Ankara, 460 kilometers (286 miles) northwest of the epicenter, and in Cyprus, where police reported no damage.

This area is frequently hit by strong earthquakes.

“The earthquake happened in the area that we were afraid of. There was severe damage on a large scale,” Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent relief agency, told Haberturk, adding: Call for blood donation.

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