Early on Monday, a strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey and Syria, toppling buildings and sending terrified citizens running outside into the chilly winter night. In both countries, there have been at least 195 fatalities, hundreds of injuries, and more deaths are anticipated.
Rescuers and locals hastily combed through the wreckage of collapsed buildings in numerous cities on both sides of the border looking for survivors. Numerous people in one earthquake-stricken Turkish city broke apart pieces of concrete and bent metal. People on the street called up to those within an apartment building that was dangerously tilting and partially fell.
The epicenter of the earthquake, which was felt as far away as Cairo, was located around 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of the Turkish city of Gaziantep.
Four million Syrians who had been forced to leave other areas of the nation due to the protracted civil conflict were living in opposition-held areas on the Syrian side of the border when the earthquake struck. Many of them have poor living circumstances and minimal access to healthcare. A doctor in the town, Muheeb Qaddour, told The Associated Press over the phone that at least 11 people were murdered in the town of Atmeh and that many more were buried in the debris.
In the northwest, which is controlled by the rebels, “we worry that the deaths are in the hundreds,” said Qaddour. “Extreme pressure is on us.”
Millions of Syrian refugees reside in the region, which is bordered by Turkey and features numerous sizable cities.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, announced on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were promptly despatched” to the earthquake-affected districts.
We aim to survive this catastrophe as quickly and with as little damage as possible, he wrote.
There were at least six aftershocks, and Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, warned residents against going into damaged structures because of the dangers.
He declared, “Our top priority is getting people out from under the collapsed buildings and getting them to the hospitals.
At least 76 people across seven Turkish regions, according to the body responsible for disaster and emergency management in Turkey. 440 individuals, according to the agency, were hurt.
According to Syrian state media citing the Health Ministry, the death toll from Monday’s earthquake in areas of Syria controlled by the government increased to 99. In addition, Syria suffered at least 334 injuries. Earlier, 20 fatalities were recorded in rebel-held regions of the nation.
Malatya province in Turkey, which is close to the epicenter, had at least 130 structures collapse, according to governor Hulusi Sahin. 15 buildings in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir collapsed, at least. Teams of rescuers requested silence as they searched an 11-story structure that had collapsed for survivors.
The rebel-held area in northwest Syria is in a “disastrous” state, according to the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense, which also noted that entire buildings have fallen and people are trapped under the wreckage. People were instructed to leave buildings and congregate in open spaces by the civil defense. According to Amjad Rass, president of the Syrian American Medical Society, emergency facilities were overflowing with injured people.
According to the USGS, the epicenter of the earthquake was around 20 miles (33 kilometers) away from Gaziantep, a significant city and the provincial seat. Its epicenter was 18 kilometers (11 miles) deep, and a powerful aftershock measuring magnitude 6.7 followed shortly after.
The central city of Hama and the northern city of Aleppo both experienced some building collapses, according to the state-run media in Syria.
Buildings in Damascus trembled, and many people fled into the streets out of panic.
Residents in Lebanon were startled from their sleep by the earthquake, which shook the buildings for around 40 seconds. Many Beirut residents walked out of their homes, drove their cars away from the buildings, or took to the streets.
A snowfall that is currently affecting the Middle East is scheduled to last until Thursday when the earthquake struck.
Major fault lines run through Turkey, which is frequently affected by earthquakes.
Intense earthquakes that struck northwest Turkey in 1999 claimed 18,000 lives.