Turkey’s Ankara — Early on Monday, a strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook southern Turkey and northern Syria, toppling buildings and setting off a desperate hunt for survivors among the rubble in towns and cities all over the region. There were hundreds more injuries in addition to at least 360 fatalities, and more were anticipated.
Residents were awakened from their slumber on both sides of the border by the tremors several hours before morning, and they hurried outside on the chilly, rainy, and snowy winter night. In cities along the border, dozens of buildings fell.
In numerous communities on both sides of the border, rescue personnel and locals desperately looked for survivors among the wreckage of collapsed buildings while navigating through tangles of metal and concrete.
Witnesses in the Turkish city of Adana claimed to have heard one individual pleading for assistance from among the building debris. The guy screamed, “I don’t have the strength to go on.” Cranes and rescue crews were working on a mound of pancaked concrete floors formerly an apartment complex in Diyarbakir, further east.
The earthquake destroyed opposition-held areas on the Syrian side of the border, where 4 million people had fled from other parts of the nation due to the protracted civil conflict. Many of them have poor living circumstances and minimal access to healthcare. A doctor in the town, Muheeb Qaddour, told The Associated Press over the phone that at least 11 people were murdered in the village of Atmeh and that many more were buried in the debris.
In the northwest, which is controlled by the rebels, “we worry that the deaths are in the hundreds,” said Qaddour. “Extreme pressure is on us.”
The epicenter of the earthquake, which was felt as far away as Cairo, was located around 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Gaziantep, the largest provincial capital in Turkey with a population of more than 2 million. The more than ten years of war in Syria have altered the region. Turkey is home to millions of Syrian refugees. There are sections of Syria that are controlled by the government and areas that are controlled by the opposition.
At least 20 aftershocks followed, the biggest measuring 6.6 hours later during daylight, according to Turkish authorities.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, announced on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were promptly despatched” to the earthquake-affected districts.
We aim to survive this catastrophe as quickly and with as little damage as possible, he wrote.
At least 76 people were reported in seven Turkish provinces, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Service. 440 individuals, according to the agency, were hurt. According to Syrian official media, 237 people have died and more than 630 have been injured in government-held areas of the country. In areas controlled by rebels, at least 47 fatalities were reported.
From the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama to Diyarbakir, Turkey, more than 330 kilometers (200 miles) to the northeast, buildings were reported to have collapsed.
People trying to evacuate the earthquake-hit districts in Turkey produced traffic congestion, which made it difficult for rescue crews to get to the afflicted areas. Authorities pleaded with citizens to stay off the roadways. Amid temperatures that were close to freezing, mosques all around the area were being opened as shelters for people who couldn’t go back to their damaged homes.
Rescue workers in Diyarbakir asked for stillness as they searched for lives beneath the rubble of an 11-story structure. One man was brought out by rescuers, who carried him on a stretcher through a tense gathering of hundreds of onlookers who were nervously following the rescue operation. While a rescuer in a white helmet attempted to comfort a tearful girl who was also being held by two companions, a gray-haired mother sobbed before being carried away by a man.
The rebel-held area in northwest Syria is in a “disastrous” state, according to the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense, which also noted that entire buildings have fallen and people are trapped under the wreckage. People were instructed to leave buildings and congregate in open spaces by civil defense. According to Amjad Rass, president of the Syrian American Medical Society, emergency facilities were overflowing with injured people.
According to the USGS, the epicenter of the earthquake was around 20 miles (33 kilometers) away from Gaziantep. Its core was 18 km (11 mi) below the surface.
Buildings in Damascus trembled, and many people fled into the streets out of panic.
Residents in Lebanon were startled from their sleep by the earthquake, which shook the buildings for around 40 seconds. Many Beirut residents walked out of their homes, drove their cars away from the buildings, or took to the streets.
A snowfall that is currently affecting the Middle East is scheduled to last until Thursday when the earthquake struck.
Major fault lines run through Turkey, which is frequently affected by earthquakes.
The 1999 earthquakes in northwest Turkey
The 1999 earthquakes in northwest Turkey refer to two large earthquakes that struck the region on August 17 and November 12, 1999. The first earthquake, measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale, struck the heavily populated region of Izmit and caused widespread destruction and loss of life, with an estimated 17,000 people killed and over 50,000 injured. The second earthquake, measuring 7.2, struck the Duzce region and caused further damage and loss of life, with over 830 people killed and more than 4,000 injured. These earthquakes were among the deadliest and most destructive to hit Turkey in the 20th century.
An earthquake is a sudden movement of the Earth’s crust caused by the release of energy stored in rocks. Earthquakes are usually caused by the movement of tectonic plates, which make up the Earth’s crust. When the stress on a plate boundary becomes too great, the rocks break and release energy in the form of seismic waves, which can cause the ground to shake and produce an earthquake. Earthquakes can range in size from small, barely noticeable events to massive, catastrophic events that can cause widespread damage and loss of life.
The severity of an earthquake is measured by its magnitude, which is a number that reflects the amount of energy released. The magnitude of an earthquake is usually expressed on the Richter scale. The location, depth, and type of fault that caused the earthquake can all affect the damage it causes.
Earthquakes can have a range of impacts, including damage to buildings and infrastructure, landslides, tsunamis, and other secondary hazards. In areas with high seismic activity, earthquakes can be a significant threat to public safety, and communities need to have preparedness plans and disaster response capabilities in place to minimize the risks and impacts of earthquakes.