Powerful quake hits southern Turkey and Syria kills more than 1,000 – Boston News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) – Rescuers are trying to find survivors trapped under rubble on either side of the Turkey-Syria border as the death toll from one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in 100 years has soared to over 1,000 people is.
Thousands more were injured when the 7.8-magnitude tremor jolted residents from their beds around 4 a.m. Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel.
The earthquake’s epicenter was 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi in Turkey’s Gaziantep province at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.
Video from the scene in Turkey showed day falling over rows of collapsed buildings, some with apartments exposed to the elements, while people huddled beside them in the freezing cold, waiting for help.
At least 912 people have died in Turkey and more than 2,400 people have been rescued from the rubble, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised address on Monday. At least 386 people died in neighboring Syria, including 239 mostly in the regions of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus, Syrian state television reported.
The “White Helmets” group, officially known as Syria Civil Defense, also reported at least 147 deaths in opposition-held areas of north-western Syria. Much of northwestern Syria, which borders Turkey, is controlled by anti-government forces amid a bloody civil war that began in 2011.
Monday’s quake is believed to be the strongest since 1939, when an earthquake of the same magnitude killed 30,000 people, according to the USGS. Earthquakes of this magnitude are rare, with an average of fewer than five per year worldwide. Seven tremors measuring 7.0 or more have struck Turkey in the last 25 years – but Monday’s is the strongest.
Karl Lang, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, told CNN that the area hit by Monday’s quake was prone to seismic activity. “It’s a very large fault zone, but this is a bigger earthquake than they’ve experienced in recent memory,” Lang said.
“It felt like it would never be over”
Journalist Eyad Kourdi, who lives in Gaziantep and was staying with his parents when the earthquake struck early Monday, said: “It felt like it would never be over.”
When the shaking stopped, Kourdi and his parents walked out of their home, still in their pajamas, he said.
With several inches of snow on the ground, they waited outside in the rain for about 30 minutes before he could go back inside to get coats and boots.
Strong aftershocks were felt in southern and central Turkey. About 11 minutes after the impact of the main tremor, the strongest aftershock, measuring 6.7, occurred about 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of the epicenter of the main tremor. 19 minutes after the main tremor, another violent aftershock with a magnitude of 5.6 occurred.
Kourdi said that in less than a minute after the 7.8-magnitude quake, there were up to eight “very strong” aftershocks that caused objects in his home to fall to the ground. Many of his neighbors left their homes after the quake, he said.
Photos showing the true extent of the disaster emerged as day broke in Turkey. Entire buildings were razed to the ground, metal poles scattered across the streets. Cars have overturned while bulldozers work to clear the debris.
Gaziantep Castle was badly damaged by the strong earthquake.
A winter storm in the region is making the disaster worse, according to CNN meteorologists.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are affected. It is cold. It’s rainy. Roads could be affected, which means your food, your livelihood, your children’s care, your family’s care,” said CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.
“Anything grain or anything that grows in this region will also be affected. The implications of this are far-reaching and will affect this region for weeks and months.”
search for survivors
Search and rescue teams have been dispatched to the south of the country, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. Civil protection agency AFAD said it had appealed for international assistance through the Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC), the European Union’s humanitarian programme.
Nearly 1,000 search and rescue volunteers from Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, have been deployed along with dogs, trucks and supplies, according to Governor Ali Yerlikaya.
“We’re sorry for our loss. I wish our injured a speedy recovery,” Yerlikaya wrote on Twitter.
Gaziantep Governor Davut Gul said on Twitter that “the earthquake was strongly felt in our city” and advised the public to wait outside their homes and remain calm.
“Let’s wait outside, please, without panicking. Let’s not use our cars. Let’s not crowd the main streets. Let’s not keep the phones busy,” he said.
According to Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, there are a number of small and medium-sized towns in Gaziantep province with a sizeable refugee population.
“Some of these areas are rather poor. Some are wealthier, urban areas … but other parts that we’re talking about seem to have been devastated, are relatively lower-income areas,” she said.
A video from the city of Diyarbakir, northeast of Gaziantep, shows rescue workers desperately trying to pull survivors from the rubble.
Erdogan said the quake was felt in many parts of the country.
“I extend my best wishes to all our citizens who were affected by the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş and felt in many parts of our country. All our relevant units are on alert under the coordination of AFAD,” Erdogan wrote on Twitter.
Messages of condolences and support began pouring out Monday morning as world leaders woke to the news of the deadly earthquake.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States is “deeply concerned” by the destruction in Syria and Turkey.
“I have contacted Turkish officials to say we stand ready to provide any assistance needed. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye,” Sullivan wrote on Twitter.
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