Mega earthquakes in Turkey’s southeast region, unleash record 7.8-magnitude tremor – over 3,000 dead, nearly 10,000 injured, as Turkey and Syria reel from overnight destruction
Second mega earthquake hits Turkey, hours after record 7.8-magnitude tremor
Thousands dead as Turkey and Syria reel from overnight destruction that saw families crushed in their sleep
The second quake hit at 1:24 pm local time, 60 miles north of first epicenter
First quake struck early hours on Monday as people were asleep in their homes
Fatalities stand at 1,498 fatalities with 7,600 injured, across ten Turkish provinces, the Disaster and Emergency Management agency said
430 fatalities reported with 1,284 injured in government-controlled regions of Syria, mostly in Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus and Hama, Syrian govt. officials said
Further 380 people also killed in rebel-held areas in Syria, with 1,000 were injured
Turkey was hit by a second huge earthquake overnight, hours after an earlier catastrophic quake devastated the region, killing more than 1,900 people and injuring thousands more, as thousands of buildings were toppled or swallowed by the quake in the country’s southeast region.
The first earthquake struck in the early hours on Monday morning as people slept in their beds. The second hit 60 miles north less than 12 hours later.
The region is dealing with unfolding humanitarian crisis after two massive quakes hit Turkey less than ten hours apart on Monday, with fatalities surpassing 3,000, leaving thousands trapped under collapsed buildings.
The initial 7.8-magnitude night-time tremor, followed hours later by a slightly smaller one, wiped out entire sections of major Turkish cities in a region harboring millions of people who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.
The later 7.5-magnitude quake struck at 1.24pm local time, two-and-a-half miles southeast of the town of Ekinozu and around 60 miles north of the first quake that has wrought devastation across Turkey and Syria.
Reels streamed on Turkish television show rescuers digging through the rubble of leveled buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras and neighboring Gaziantep, where entire sections of cities were destroyed, while the city of Pazarcik, which lies between the two cities, is reported to be in ruins.
Hundreds are still trapped under rubble on both sides of the border. The World Health Organization warned that it expects to see a ‘significant’ increase in the death toll as the disaster unfolds, and as rescue workers continue their search through mounds of wreckage for victims crushed in their sleep.
Heartbreaking videos and pictures from dozens of cities across the two countries have shown weeping parents carrying the lifeless bodies of their children in their arms, miraculous rescues executed by emergency responders, buildings slamming to the ground in seconds, and entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble.
The first earthquake struck in the early hours on Monday morning as people slept in their beds.
Tremors from the first deadly quake – which lasted about a minute – were felt as far away as the island of Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon, and a tsunami warning was briefly issued by authorities in Italy along the country’s coast.
The second quake struck about 60 miles from the epicentre of the first, less than 12 hours later.
As Monday rolled on, concerns grew for people trapped under the rubble as thousands of rescue workers across a 200-mile radius jumped into action, searching through tangles of metal and giant piles of concrete for survivors who could be heard calling out from underneath the wreckage.
Terrifying videos and pictures from across the region showed the destruction caused by the quake.
One clip from the border town of Azaz, Syria, showed a rescuer desperately running through a field of debris with an injured child in his arms, while another showed the total collapse of a building in Sanliurfa, Turkey.
Monday’s first quake centered north of Gaziantep, Turkey, which is about 60 miles from the Syrian border, has a population of bout 2 million, and is home to large numbers of Syrian refugees, struck at 04:17am local time. A strong 6.7 aftershock rumbled about 10 minutes later, causing more havoc – 40 aftershocks were felt according to local sources.
Buildings were reported to have collapsed as far south as Syria’s cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 200 miles north-east.
Tremors from the quake, which lasted about a minute, were felt as far away as Greenland, Egypt, Lebanon and Cyprus. A tsunami warning was briefly issued by authorities in Italy.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier described the quakes as tTurkey’s largest disaster since 1939, when 33,000 people were killed in the Erzincan earthquake.
‘Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts, although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night make things more difficult,’ he told reporters in Ankara.
‘We do not know how high the casualty numbers will go as efforts to lift the debris continue in several buildings in the earthquake zone,’ he said.
Monday’s quake’s, largest ever on record in the region, was centered north of Gaziantep, Turkey, 60 miles from the Syrian border with a population of bout 2 million.
Residents fled from homes in terror in cities across southeast Turkey and Syria, taking shelter in cars fearing aftershocks and collapsing buildings.
Meanwhile, at least 430 people have been killed and 1,284 injured in government-controlled regions of Syria, with the victims mostly in Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus and Hama, Syrian officials said in their own update.
The White Helmets said at least a further 380 people were killed in rebel-held areas in Syria while a further 1,000 were injured.
This brings the overall reported death toll from the quake to 2,308 so far across the three regions of Turkey, government-controlled Syria and rebel-controlled Syria.
The volunteer civil defense organization said the quake has ‘resulted in hundreds of injuries, dozens of deaths, and people being stranded in the winter cold’.
‘The toll may increase as many families are still trapped,’ the White Helmets, which operates in rebel-controlled areas of the war-torn country, said. ‘Our teams are on the ground searching for survivors and removing the dead from the rubble.’
Angela Kearney, the UNICEF Representative in Syria, said adults and children had been displaced by the quake and warned of the psychological impact this would have.
‘Many people, including children are displaced and remain outside in streets and open areas,’ she said. ‘The government of Syria closed schools and universities for today and some are being used as shelters. The psychological impact on some people we met is grave.’
The death toll across the whole affected region is expected to climb as rescue teams work throughout Monday to find more people trapped under collapsed buildings.
It was unclear if more casualties had been caused by the second quake. The World Health Organization said it expected to see the toll increase ‘significantly’ as rescue operations continued throughout Monday.
‘I think we can expect the death toll to increase significantly,’ Rick Brennan, the WHO’s regional emergency director for the Eastern Mediterranean, told reporters.
‘There’s been a lot of building collapses and it will increase more significantly around the epicentre of the earthquake.’
At least 2,800 rescue teams have been deployed across Turkey, and the Turkish armed forces have set up an air corridor to enable search and rescue teams to reach the affected zones, the country’s defense ministry said on Monday.
‘We mobilized our planes to send medical teams, search and rescue teams and their vehicles to the earthquake zone,’ Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
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