Strong Earthquake in Turkey and Syria, More than 2,300 Dead
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On Monday, the most powerful earthquake to hit Turkey and Syria in almost a century caused panicked rescue efforts and claimed the lives of over 2,300 people. The tremors of the earthquake could be felt as far away as Greenland.
In a region that is populated by millions of people who have fled Syria’s civil war and other conflicts, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred early in the morning and was followed by dozens of aftershocks destroyed entire areas of major cities in Turkey.
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In their search for survivors, rescue workers utilized heavy machinery and their own hands to peel aside rubble. In some instances, they were able to hear individuals pleading for assistance from underneath the wreckage.
Melisa Salman, a reporter in the city of Kahramanmaras in Turkey, stated that she was accustomed to being shaken because she lives in an area that is prone to earthquakes.
The young man, who is 23 years old, stated to the AFP that “but that was the first time we have ever experienced something like that.” “At first, we thought the end of the world had arrived.”
According to Raed Ahmed, who is in charge of Syria’s National Earthquake Centre, it has been described as “the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center.”
According to state media and medical sources, at least 810 people perished in rebel-controlled and government-controlled areas of Syria. Meanwhile, Turkish officials recorded an additional 1,498 casualties in their country.
After the original quake, there were more than 50 aftershocks that shook the region on Monday afternoon. These aftershocks ranged in magnitude from 7.5 to 6, and some of them occurred in the middle of search and rescue operations.
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In Turkey, shaken survivors ran out onto the snow-covered streets while still wearing their pajamas to see rescue workers sift through the rubble of wrecked homes with their bare hands.
Muhittin Orakci, a bewildered survivor in Turkey’s largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, told AFP that seven members of his family were feared to be buried beneath the rubble.
“There is also my sister, who is there with her three children. Additionally, her spouse, as well as her father-in-law and mother-in-law.”
The rescue effort was complicated by a winter storm that had coated main highways in ice and snow, making travel difficult. Officials reported that the earthquake rendered three of the region’s major airports inoperable, which further complicated efforts to transport critical relief.
In 1939, Turkey was struck by an earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes, which claimed the lives of 33,000 people in the province of Erzincan in the country’s east.
According to the US Geological Survey, the first earthquake of the day occurred around 4:17 am local time (0117 GMT) close to the city of Gaziantep in Turkey, which is home to approximately two million people. The depth of the tremor was approximately 18 kilometers (11 miles).
According to the Danish geological institute, the aftershocks from the primary earthquake were felt on the east coast of Greenland approximately eight minutes after they were felt in Turkey.
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According to Osama Abdel Hamid, a survivor of the earthquake in Syria, his family was asleep when the shaking first started.
“I woke up my wife and my children, and we fled towards the door,” he added. “I woke up my wife and my children.” “As soon as we unlocked it, the entire structure came crashing down around us.”
A representative for Syria’s civil defense said that rescue crews were working feverishly to free people who were trapped.
“The fall of numerous buildings occurred in a variety of cities and villages in the northwestern region of Syria… Even at this moment, there are numerous households buried under the debris “explained Ismail Abdallah.
The United States of America, the European Union, and Russia have all offered their assistance and expressed their sorrow following the tragedy.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has extended an invitation to provide “the necessary aid” to Turkey, which is assisting Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion with combat drones.
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Images broadcast on Turkish television showed rescue workers excavating through the wreckage in practically all of the major cities that run along the border with Syria. The rescue workers were seen digging through city centers and residential neighborhoods.
The region between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, which was located near the epicenter of the earthquake, was hit with some of the most severe damage. Entire city blocks were left in ruins as the snow began to fall.
In the province of Maltaya, a well-known mosque that dates back to the 13th century suffered a partial collapse, while the area also saw the fall of a 14-story building that contained 28 flats and housed 92 people.
Posts on social media from other towns revealed a hilltop castle in Gaziantep that was built by Roman soldiers 2,200 years ago laying in ruins with its walls half turned to rubble. The castle was located in other cities.
One rescue worker was overheard on NTV television in front of a collapsed building in the city of Diyarbakir saying, “We hear voices here — and over there, too.” The statement was made in reference to the area surrounding the structure that had been destroyed.
It’s possible that there are still 200 individuals buried under all of the debris.
Damage was recorded by the Syrian Ministry of Health in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Tartus, which is where Russia leases a naval facility.
According to AFP correspondents in northern Syria, locals reported running out of their homes in terror after the ground began to shake.
Even before the tragedy, buildings in Aleppo, which was Syria’s pre-war economic hub, frequently collapsed due to the outdated infrastructure, which had suffered from a lack of control during the conflict. This was the case even before the tragedy.
As a precaution, local authorities turned off the natural gas and power supplies across the region and also closed the schools for a period of two weeks.
According to David Rothery, an earthquake expert at the Open University in Britain, “the scale of the aftershocks, which may persist for days albeit generally decreasing in energy, carries a risk of collapse of structures already compromised by the previous occurrences.”
“Because of this, attempts to search and rescue are put in jeopardy.”
Turkey is located in one of the regions in the world that has the highest frequency of earthquakes.
In 1999, an earthquake of a magnitude of 7.4 struck the province of Duzce in Turkey, which resulted in the deaths of more than 17,000 people (including around 1,000 in Istanbul).
Istanbul is a megalopolis with 16 million people packed into shaky dwellings, and specialists have long warned that a huge earthquake might demolish the city.