Powerful earthquake kills hundreds in Turkey and Syria

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A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing more than 550 people and injuring hundreds. The tremors were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit southern Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, February 6 , killing more than 550 people in both countries and causing very significant damage according to the latest reports.

At least 284 people have died and 2,323 injured in Turkey, Vice President Fuat Oktay told a press conference. He said 70 people were killed in Kahramanmaras province, where the epicenter of the quake was, as well as 20 people in Osmaniye, 18 in Sanliurfa, 14 in Diyarbakir and 13 in Adiyaman. 

At least 237 others have lost their lives in Syria, according to the Ministry of Health, which puts the number of injured at 639.

According to the American seismological institute USGS, the earthquake took place at 4:17 a.m. local time (1:17 a.m. GMT), at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers. The epicenter is located in the district of Pazarcik, in the province of Kahramanmaras (southeast), about 60 km as the crow flies from the Syrian border.

This earthquake is the largest in Turkey since the earthquake of August 17, 1999, which caused the death of 17,000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.

Twenty-eight people were killed in Adiyaman province, its governor announced on Monday, citing around 100 collapsed buildings. At least 23 people have been killed and 420 others injured in Malatya province, its governor told public broadcaster TRT. The governor of Sanliurfa has reported 18 dead and 30 injured in his province. At least six others were killed in Diyarbakir province, its governor said.

“We hear voices here and there. We think maybe 200 people are under the rubble,” said a rescuer dispatched to a destroyed building in Diyarbakir, according to images broadcast on the NTV channel.

According to Afad, the earthquake that occurred overnight had a magnitude of 7.4 and a depth of 7 km. The tremors, felt across the southeast of the country, were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus, according to AFP correspondents.

Buildings have been destroyed in many cities in the south-east of the country, according to images broadcast by the Turkish media, raising fears of a much heavier toll.

An AFP correspondent in Diyarbakir, a large city in the south-east of the country, saw a collapsed building, with rescuers hard at work trying to extricate people from the rubble. On Twitter, Turkish Internet users shared the identity and location of people trapped under the rubble in several cities in the south-east of the country. Adana city mayor Zeydan Karalar said two 17-storey and 14-storey buildings were destroyed, according to TRT.

source: france24