Saturday, March 25, 2023

Powerful quake in Turkey, Syria kills over 2.5k

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighbouring Syria on Monday, killing more than 2,500 people and injuring thousands more as it toppled thousands of buildings and trapped residents under mounds of rubble.
Authorities feared the death toll would keep climbing as rescuers searched through tangles of metal and concrete for survivors in a region beset by more than a decade of Syria’s civil war and a refugee crisis.
Residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside in the rain and snow to es-cape falling debris, while those who were trapped cried for help. Throughout the day, major af-tershocks rattled the region, including a jolt nearly as strong as the initial quake. After night fell, workers were still sawing away slabs and still pulling out bodies as desperate families waited for news on trapped loved ones.
Tens of thousands who were left homeless in Turkey and Syria faced a night in the cold.
In Turkey’s Gaziantep, a provincial capital about 33 kilometers (20 miles) from the epicenter, people took refuge in shopping malls, stadiums and community centers. Mosques around the region were opened to provide shelter. The quake, which was centered on Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, sent res-idents of Damascus and Beirut rushing into the street and was felt as far away as Cairo. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said such a disaster could hit “once in a hundred years.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said official do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise.
The quake piled more misery on a region that has seen tremendous suffering over the past dec-ade.
On the Syrian side, the area affected is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Turkey, meanwhile, is home to millions of refugees from the civil war.
Thousands of buildings were reported collapsed in a wide area extending from Syria’s cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 330 kilometers (200 miles) to the north-east.
In Turkey alone, more than 3,700 buildings were destroyed, authorities said. Hospitals were damaged, and one collapsed in the Turkish city of Iskenderun.
Offers of help poured in from dozens of countries, as well as EU and NATO.


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