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Two massive quakes that struck southern Turkiye on Feb 6 have claimed over 42,000 lives, acording to Turkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.

On Feb 20, two new earthquakes measuring 6.4- and 5.8-magnitude, respectively, jolted the southern Hatay province near the Syrian border, killing at least six people and wounding 294 others.

A United Nations Development Program official estimated that 1.5 million people in Turkiye have been left homeless by the recent earthquakes and some 500,000 housing units in the country will have to be rebuilt.

20:01 2023-02-06
326 killed, 1,042 injured in Syria's 7.7-magnitude earthquake
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble, following an earthquake, in Al Atarib, Syria, Feb 6, 2023 in this picture obtained from social media. [Photo/Agencies]

DAMASCUS - The Syrian health ministry said at least 326 people were killed and 1,042 others injured in the country when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit Syria and Turkiye early on Monday.

The ministry's casualties, however, do not cover the rebel-held areas in Idlib Province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-rebel Britain-based watchdog, said 150 people were killed by the earthquake in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.

The Syrian government has set up a 24-hour central operation center to coordinate earthquake relief operations, with all relevant ministries, institutions and authorities on alert, state news agency SANA reported.

The central operation center was led by Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous.

Historic sites in Syria were affected, as parts of the Ottoman mill in the Citadel of Aleppo fell and the defensive walls have cracks, said the antiquities and museums directorate.

Inside the Citadel whose entrances were damaged, large parts of the dome of the lighthouse of the Ayyubid mosque also fell, while the facade of the Ottoman hospice was damaged, the directorate added.

"This earthquake is the strongest since 1995," said Raed Ahmed, director general of the National Seismological Center.

19:02 2023-02-06
Turkiye hit by another strong earthquake
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkiye, Feb 6, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - A 7.8-magnitude earthquake jolted Turkiye, at 6:24 pm Monday Beijing Time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).

The epicenter was monitored at 38.0 degrees north latitude and 37.15 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 20 km, the CENC said. 

18:36 2023-02-06
Turkiye mobilizes after deadly earthquake kills over 900
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkiye, Feb 6, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

ISTANBUL - Aid poured out from Turkiye's major cities on Monday after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the country's southern province of Kahramanmaras and left hundreds of people dead and thousands injured.

Some 912 people were killed and over 5,000 others injured after two strong earthquakes jolted southern Turkiye early Monday, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The earthquake occurred at 4.17 am local time (0117 GMT), followed by another magnitude 6.4 quake. Damage was reported in at least 10 provinces in southern and southeastern Turkiye.

Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Turkiye's largest city Istanbul, said on social media that over 1,000 personnel, including healthcare workers, four search and rescue dogs and 30 tons of aid materials had been dispatched to the region, adding that 19 ambulances also departed from Istanbul.

Some 703 police officers and 376 gendarmes have also been dispatched from Istanbul to participate in search and rescue missions.

Meanwhile, city hall has dispatched its resources. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu told local media that 311 search-and-rescue personnel, 20 construction vehicles and two trucks that can produce thousands of meals daily are heading to the affected areas.

Imamoglu said that 26 specialized containers to meet the survivors' lavatory needs as well as sleeping bags and blankets were also ready to go. Turkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, the department responsible for coordinating disaster relief, has dispatched Istanbul municipality aid to the southern city of Hatay.

Tunc Soyer, mayor of the western city of Izmir, also announced that the municipality's search and rescue teams, comprised of 7 vehicles and 41 personnel, have been dispatched to the southeastern province of Osmaniye.

Many provinces near the disaster area have also sent medical teams and ambulances.

The country's defense ministry has put the Turkish Armed Forces Humanitarian Aid Brigade and transport planes on standby. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the chief of general staff and the chief of land forces are all heading to the affected areas.

"We dispatched all our search and rescue teams to earthquake zones. We set the highest alert," Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.

Soylu also called out for international assistance. "We've set up a fourth-level alert. This is an alarm that includes international assistance."

11:32 2023-02-06
Watch it again: 7.8-magnitude quake hits Turkiye

A major 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkiye on Monday, the US Geological Survey said, levelling buildings across several cities and causing damage in neighboring Syria.

The quake struck at 4:17 am local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers (11 miles), the US agency said, with a 6.7-magnitude aftershock striking 15 minutes later.

Tune in to follow the event LIVE.

09:40 2023-02-06
Earthquake kills more than 3,700 in Turkiye and Syria
People try to reach trapped residents in a collapsed building in Pazarcik, in Kahramanmaras province, southern Turkiye, Feb 6, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

KAHRAMANMARAS, Turkiye/DAMASCUS - A huge earthquake killed more than 3,700 people across a swathe of Turkiye and northwest Syria on Monday, with freezing winter weather adding to the plight of the thousands left injured or homeless and hampering efforts to find survivors.

The magnitude 7.8 quake brought down whole apartment blocks in Turkish cities and piled more devastation on millions of Syrians displaced by years of war.

It struck before sunrise in harsh weather and was followed in the early afternoon by another large quake.

In Diyarbakir in southeast Turkiye, a woman speaking next to the wreckage of the seven-storey block where she lived said: "We were shaken like a cradle. There were nine of us at home. Two sons of mine are still in the rubble, I'm waiting for them."

She was nursing a broken arm and had injuries to her face.

"It was like the apocalypse," said Abdul Salam al-Mahmoud, a Syrian in the northern town of Atareb. "It's bitterly cold and there's heavy rain, and people need saving."

The earthquake was the biggest recorded worldwide by the US Geological Survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021.

In Turkiye, the death toll stood at 2,316, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said, making it the country's deadliest earthquake since a tremor of similar magnitude in 1999 devastated the heavily populated eastern Marmara Sea region near Istanbul, killing more than 17,000.

At least 1,444 people were killed in Syria in Monday's quake and about 3,500 injured, according to figures from the Damascus government and rescue workers in the northwestern region controlled by insurgents.

Poor internet connections and damaged roads between some of the worst-hit cities in Turkiye's south, homes to millions of people, hindered efforts to assess and address the impact.

Temperatures in some areas were expected to fall to near freezing overnight, worsening conditions for people trapped under rubble or left homeless. Rain fell on Monday after snowstorms swept the country at the weekend.

More than 13,000 people were injured in Turkiye from the quake.

In the Turkish city of Iskenderun, rescuers climbed an enormous pile of debris that was once part of a state hospital's intensive care unit in search of survivors. Health workers did what they could to tend to the new rush of injured patients.

"We have a patient who was taken into surgery but we don't know what happened," said Tulin, a woman in her 30s, standing outside the hospital, wiping away tears and praying.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, preparing for a tough election in May, called the quake a historic disaster and the worst earthquake to hit the country since 1939, but said authorities were doing all they could.

"Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night makes things more difficult," he said.

The second quake was big enough to bring down more buildings and, like the first, was felt across the region, endangering rescuers struggling to pull casualties from the rubble.

People search through rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkiye Feb 6, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

In Syria, already wrecked by more than 11 years of civil war, the health ministry said 711 people had been killed. In the Syrian rebel-held northwest emergency workers said 733 people had died.

The United Nations says 4.1 million people, many of them displaced by the conflict and living in camps, depend already on cross-border humanitarian aid in northwest Syria and international support efforts are stretched and underfunded.

"Syrian communities are simultaneously hit with an ongoing cholera outbreak and harsh winter events including heavy rain and snow over the weekend," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

In the government-controlled city of Aleppo, footage on Twitter showed two neighbouring buildings collapsing one after the other, filling streets with billowing dust.

Two residents of the city, which has been heavily damaged in the war, said the buildings had fallen in the hours after the quake, which was felt as far away as Cyprus and Lebanon.

In the Syrian government-held city of Hama, a Reuters journalist saw an apparently lifeless child carried from the ruins of a building.

A man stands near a damaged vehicle, following an earthquake, in rebel-held Azaz, Syria Feb 6, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]


In the rebel-held town of Jandaris in Aleppo province, a mound of concrete, steel rods and bundles of clothes lay where a multi-storey building once stood.

"There were 12 families under there. Not a single one came out. Not one," said a thin young man, his eyes wide open in shock and his hand bandaged.

Raed al-Saleh of the Syrian White Helmets, a rescue service in rebel-held territory known for pulling people from the ruins of buildings destroyed by air strikes, said they were in "a race against time to save the lives of those under the rubble".

Syrian state television showed rescue teams searching for survivors in heavy rain and sleet. President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss next steps, his office said.

In the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Reuters journalists saw dozens of rescue workers searching through a mound of debris, all that was left of a big building, and hauling off bits of wreckage as they looked for survivors. Occasionally they raised their hands and called for quiet, listening for sounds of life.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday about the earthquake, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

He made the call "in the first instance to offer condolences and to make clear...that anything Turkiye needed that we could provide, they should pick up the phone and let us know,” Price said. Erdogan said 45 countries had offered to help the search and rescue efforts in Turkiye.

The earthquake also halted operations at Turkiye's oil export hub in Ceyhan and stopped crude flows from Iraq and Azerbaijan.

Turkiye's lira hit a record low of 18.85 in early trade and the country's stocks tumbled around 5%, although both pared losses later with the currency ending the day flat and equity indexes closing 1.3%-2.2% lower.

In the Turkish city of Malatya, a rescue worker crawled into a collapsed building, trying to identify a survivor trapped under the wreckage, in footage released by emergency agency AFAD.

"What colour are you wearing? Are you wearing pink? Please take care of yourself for the moment, I cannot see anything else," the rescue worker could be heard saying.


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