What is happening in Turkey, Syria? Key earthquake questions answered | earthquake news

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake with an epicenter in southeastern Turkey near the northern border of Syria has killed hundreds of people and caused widespread destruction.

The quake killed at least 641 people in both countries, collapsed buildings and prompted rescuers to rummage through rubble looking for survivors.

The death toll is expected to rise, with experts warning that Aftershocks may continue for days or weeks. Vibrations were also felt in Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the earthquake-stricken areas.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Civil Defense, which operates in opposition-controlled areas of northern Syria, declared a state of emergency and called on the “international community to assist in the rescue of civilians”. in Syria”.

Where did the earthquake happen?

The quake struck at 4:17 a.m. (01:17 GMT), with its epicenter in Kahramanmaras in Gaziantep province, about 33 kilometers (20 miles) from the capital Gaziantep, home to more than 2 million people, including thousands of people. hundred thousand people. of Syrians fleeing during the country’s war, which began in 2011.

The US Geological Survey notes that the area has many buildings made of brittle brick or concrete, making them “extremely vulnerable to earthquakes”.

Turkey earthquake
A person is rescued from the rubble of a building in Adana, Turkey [Eren Bozkurt/Anadolu Agency]

The quake was about 50km from the northwestern border of Syria, home to about 1.7 million people internal replacement Syrians live in a cluster of camps in areas controlled by opposition groups that are still fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Several major government-controlled cities, including Aleppo, with a population density of nearly 2 million, are located in the region.

More than 40 aftershocks were felt after the first quake, including a magnitude 6.7 aftershock.

Chris Elders, a professor at the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, told Al Jazeera the aftershocks spanned “a distance of about 100km to 200km (62 to 124 miles) along a distance of about 100km to 200km (62 to 124 miles) major fault line. to the East Anatolian Fault, which stretches across the southeastern part of Turkey.

What do we know about casualties?

The death toll is rising rapidly on Monday, with Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency saying at least 284 people had been killed in seven Turkish provinces as of 10:35 a.m. (07:30 p.m.) 35 GMT).

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said 2,023 people were injured and 1,718 buildings collapsed in the country.

Rescuers are digging through the rubble of flattened buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras and the vicinity of Gaziantep. Ruined buildings were also recorded in Adiyaman, Malatya and Diyarbakir.

According to Syrian state media, the death toll in government-controlled areas of Syria has risen to 237 with more than 630 injured, with deaths reported in the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus.

Rescue workers said at least 120 people were killed and more than 230 injured in rebel-held areas of northwestern Syria on Monday.

INTERACT - Earthquake in Turkey February 6, 2023

“Massive damage and local devastation were anticipated. Martin Mai, professor of geophysics at King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia, told Al Jazeera.

“In the past, earthquakes in Turkey have resulted in between 10,000 and 13,000 construction-style deaths and the large scale of this event will also have a profound economic impact. “

The famous 13th-century Yeni Mosque has partially collapsed in the province of Maltaya, where a 14-story building with 28 apartments also collapsed.

Will the rescue attempt succeed?

Rescue efforts are being hampered by a winter blizzard that has covered major roads in ice and snow.

Aid workers warn about a special Dire situation in northwestern Syria.

Mazen Kiwara, Middle East Regional Director for the Syrian American Medical Association, told Al Jazeera: “Right now we are in a crisis, in addition to very bad weather conditions and collapsed buildings, and Unfortunately, the hospital is damaged.

Rescue workers are seen in Afrin, Syria [Ugur Yildirim/Getty Images]

“We have received initial information from our hospitals… Hospitals are overwhelmed because of the number of casualties,” he said, adding that some hospitals had to be evacuated.

Kiwara added: “There were between five and seven deaths at a fetal hospital in Afrin, including one pregnant mother who passed away, but our colleagues succeeded in saving it. live her child. And he’s in good shape now.”

Why is the earthquake so deadly?

Curtin University elders said the depth of the quake, at about 18km (11 miles), made the incident particularly severe.

However, while that “sounds pretty deep,” “the energy released by the earthquake would be felt fairly close to the surface with a much greater magnitude than if it were deeper in the crust.” .

Naci Gorur, an earthquake expert with the Turkish Academy of Sciences, urged local officials to immediately inspect the cracks of dams in the area to prevent potentially catastrophic flooding.

Turkey lies mainly on the Anatolian Plate, with two major faults, the North Anatolian Fault, which runs between the Anatolian Plate and the Eurasian Plate north of the Turkish land mass, and the East Anatolian Fault, which runs along the plate. Arabia to the southeast of the Turkish territory.

The geological location makes Turkey one of the most earthquake-active regions in the world.

In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Duzce region in northeastern Turkey, killing more than 17,000 people, including more than 1,000 in Istanbul, the country’s largest city.

Monday’s quake was the strongest since another magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Erzincan province in 1939, which killed more than 30,000 people.


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