Home Scandal and Gossip 7.8 Turkey earthquake kills 1300 as rescuers frantically search for survivors

7.8 Turkey earthquake kills 1300 as rescuers frantically search for survivors

Turkey Syria earthquake
Turkey Syria earthquake leaves 520 dead after 7.8 magnitude quake strikes overnight.
Turkey Syria earthquake
Turkey Syria earthquake leaves 520 dead after 7.8 magnitude quake strikes overnight. Images via social media.

Turkey Syria earthquake leaves more than 1300 dead after 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes overnight leveling buildings, roads, gasfields along rolling aftershocks. Emergency rescuers frantically seek out survivors. 

At least 1300 people in southeast Turkey and neighbouring Syria have been killed after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake levelled buildings overnight as victims slept.

Tremors from the deadly quake which lasted about a minute were felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon and the island of Cyprus, while a tsunami warning was issued by authorities in Italy along the country’s coast.

Authorities said 912 were killed in Turkey and 339 in Syria, with destruction concentrated in border areas that house millions of refugees. Over 5000 were injured and trapped as buildings collapsed with aftershocks expected to continue for days, possibly months.

The disaster affected several Turkish provinces stretching hundreds of kilometers, where about 13 million people are bracing for colder winter temperatures.

Residents fled from their homes in terror in cities across southeast Turkey and northern Syria, taking shelter in cars fearing aftershocks and collapsing buildings. Concerns grew for people trapped under the rubble as thousands of rescue workers jumped into action, searching through destroyed buildings for survivors.

Turkey Syria earthquake casualties expected to climb 

The quake which occurred just on 4am local time, was centred north of Gaziantep, Turkey, which is about 60 miles from the Syrian border. The region is home to large numbers of Syrian refugees.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency says the 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed at least scores of people in seven Turkish provinces. The agency said 440 people were injured.

Turkey’s Vice President later confirmed that the death toll had risen to 1900. Meanwhile, at least 326 have been killed and around 1042 injured in Syria, with the victims mostly in Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus and Hama, Syrian officials say. 

The death toll across the region is expected to climb as rescue teams work through the night to find people trapped under collapsed buildings.   

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that ‘search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched’ to the areas hit by the devastating quake.

‘We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,’ he wrote on Twitter.

At least 1,000 volunteer rescue workers have been deployed in they country. 

Residents warned not to enter building as rolling aftershocks levelled buildings

There were at least six aftershocks as officials urged people not to enter damaged buildings due to the risks. 

‘Our priority is to bring out people trapped under ruined buildings and to transfer them to hospitals,’ Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement. 

Rescue workers and residents using flashlights were searching through piles of tangled metal and concrete rubble in one of the stricken cities. 

People on the street shouted up to others inside a partially toppled apartment building, leaning dangerously. 

In the Turkish city of Adana, one resident said three buildings near his home collapsed. 

‘I don’t have the strength anymore,’ one survivor could be heard calling out from beneath the rubble as rescue workers tried to reach him, said the resident, journalism student Muhammet Fatih Yavus

Syria destruction; people under rubble

Further east in Diyarbakir, cranes and rescue teams rushed people on stretchers out of a mountain of pancaked concrete floors that was once an apartment building. 

Fared Al Mahlool, a local journalist based in Syria, tweeted video showing collapsed houses and people scrabbling through the rubble. 

‘Here in the city of Salqin in rural Idlib, Syria,’ he wrote

‘We hit a violent earthquake and destroyed everything. Buildings destroyed and people under rubble.’

‘Earthquake destroys us. Buildings crashed. Dozens of martyrs. Pray for us.’ 

One U.S.-based Turkish citizen, Eren Bali, tweeted footage showing collapsed buildings in his hometown of Malatya.

‘Southeast Turkey was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that lasted 90 seconds,’ he said. 

‘Over 100 buildings were reported to have collapsed in my home town alone (Malatya).’

Unverified images from Hatay appeared to show a family being dragged out of the rubble of a collapsed home, amid heavy snowfall. 

Syria quake hits area packed with 4 million refugees

The quake smashed opposition-held regions that are packed with some four million Syrians displaced from other parts of the country by the long civil war. Turkey hosts the biggest refugee population in the world and many of the 3.7 million registered Syrian refugees are concentrated in areas affected by the quake.

Many of them live in decrepit conditions with little health care. 

Emergency rooms were full of injured, said Amjad Rass, president of the Syrian American Medical Society. 

Meanwhile, the governor of Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa province, Salih Ayhan, said on Twitter, ‘we have destroyed buildings’ and urged people to move to safe locations. 

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 20 miles from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital. 

Its epicenter was 11 miles deep, and a strong 6.7 aftershock rumbled about 10 minutes later.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency, AFAD, said the quake measured 7.4 and was centered in the town of Pazarcik, in Kahramanmaras province and lasted over 90 seconds. 

The US Geological Survey put it at 7.8. 

In Turkey, people trying to leave the quake-stricken regions caused traffic jams, hampering efforts of emergency teams trying to reach the affected areas. 

Active seismic zones and crossed by numerous fault lines

Authorities urged residents not to take to the roads. 

Mosques around the region were being opened up as a shelter for people unable to return to damaged homes amid temperatures that hovered around freezing.

Syria’s state media reported that some buildings collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama. 

In Damascus, buildings shook and many people went down to the streets in fear.

The earthquake came as the Middle East is experiencing a snowstorm that is expected to continue until Thursday.

The head of the Turkish Red Cross said it was mobilizing resources for the region as it had received information of serious damage and collapsed buildings, and urged people to evacuate damaged homes.

The country sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes.

Some 18,000 were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey in 1999.

Monday morning’s earthquake is the strongest earthquake in Turkey since 1939, when a powerful temblor struck eastern city of Erzincan and killed about 33,000 people. The country lies in one of the world’s most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines.