Massive earthquake kills 2,600 in Turkey and Syria amid freezing temperatures

2023-02-06 21:58:42
Massive earthquake kills 2,600 in Turkey and Syria amid freezing temperatures

A huge earthquake killed more than 2,600 people across a swathe of Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, in one of the most powerful quakes in the region in at least a century.

Freezing winter weather added to the plight of the many 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.

The magnitude-7.8 quake, which hit in the early darkness of a winter morning, was followed by a second 7.7 quake in the middle of the day on Monday, as rescuers in both countries were still attempting to search for survivors.

"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 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.

In Turkey, the death toll stood at 1,651, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, and 11,119 people were recorded as injured. At least 968 people were killed in Syria, according to figures from the Damascus government and rescue workers in the northwestern region controlled by insurgents.

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


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