(Daily Mail) Turkey has been hit by a second massive earthquake, hours after an earlier catastrophic quake devastated the region and killed more than 1,600 people.
The 7.8-magnitude night-time tremor, followed hours later by a slightly smaller one, wiped out entire sections of major Turkish cities in a region filled with millions of people who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.
The later 7.5 magnitude quake struck at 1.24pm (1024 GMT) two-and-a-half miles southeast of the town of Ekinozu and around 60 miles north of the first quake that has wrought devastation across Turkey and Syria.
Hundreds are still believed to be trapped under rubble on both sides of the border as a result of the first, and the toll is expected to rise as rescue workers continue to search through mounds of wreckage for families crushed in their sleep.
Orhan Tatar, an official from the Turkish disaster agency, told reporters that the two quakes were independent of each other. He said hundreds of aftershocks were expected after both. Tremors were felt as far away as Greenland.
Turkey has been hit by a second huge earthquake , hours after an earlier catastrophic quake devastated the region, killing more than 1,600 people and injuring thousands more, while toppling thousands of buildings. Pictured: The Turkish city of Hatay is seen after Monday morning’s quake levelled buildings across the region
Pictured: A Syrian man weeps as he carried the body of his son, who was killed in an earthquake that struck in the early hours on Monday morning, in the town of Jandaris
SYRIA: Residents retrieve an injured girl from the rubble of a collapsed building in the town of Jandaris, in the countryside of Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province, on February 6. Rescue workers are desperately searching for survivors after the earthquakes struck across the region
Pictured: The girl is seen being carried away by rescuers having been pulled from the rubble
Rescuers carry out a girl from a collapsed building following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey on February 6. The first earthquake struck in the early hours on Monday morning as people slept in their beds. The second hit 60 miles north less than 12 hours later
Monday morning’s earlier 7.8 magnitude quake jolted residents awake. They fled from their homes in terror out into the cold, rainy and snowy night across southeast Turkey and northern Syria, taking shelter in cars as thousands of buildings collapsed.
Tremors from the first quake – which lasted about a minute and could be Turkey’s largest ever – were felt as far away as Greenland, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said. People reported feeling tremors in Egypt, Lebanon and also Cyprus, while a tsunami warning was briefly issued by authorities in Italy.
After a 3.8 magnitude earthquake struck Buffalo, New York in the United States, meteorologist Tyler Metcalf sugested on Twitter that the Turkey earthquake could have ‘destabilised faults across the world.’
As Monday rolled on, concerns grew for people trapped under the rubble as thousands of rescue workers jumped into action, searching through tangles of metal and giant piles of concrete for survivors who could be heard calling out from underneath the wreckage.
Terrifying videos and pictures from across the region showed the destruction caused by the quake. One clip from the border town of Azaz, Syria, showed a rescuer desperately running through a field of debris with an injured child in his arms, while another showed the total collapse of a building in Sanliurfa, Turkey.
Monday’s first quake was centred north of Gaziantep, Turkey, which is about 60 miles from the Syrian border and has a population of bout 2 million. The region is home to large numbers of Syrian refugees.
It struck at 04:17 am local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 11 miles, the US Geological Survey said. A strong 6.7 aftershock rumbled about 10 minutes later, causing more havoc. Turkey’s own agency said 40 aftershocks were felt.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency said the earthquake killed scores of people across seven Turkish provinces.
At around 12.10 GMT, Turkey’s disaster agency updated the death toll, saying the earthquake had killed 1,014 (rising from an earlier 912 figure given by Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan), and that 2,824 buildings had been destroyed.
The president said earlier another 5,000 people were injured, in what he described as the country’s largest disaster since 1939 (when 33,000 people were killed in the Erzincan earthquake).
‘Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts, although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night make things more difficult,’ he told reporters from Turkey’s disaster coordination centre in Ankara.
‘We do not know how high the casualty numbers will go as efforts to lift the debris continue in several buildings in the earthquake zone,’ he said.
Pictured: Residents search for victims and survivors amidst the rubble of collapsed buildings following an earthquake in the village of Besnia near the twon of Harim, in Syria’s rebel-held north-western Idlib province on the border with Turkey, on February 6, 2022
At least 1,385 people have been killed overnight in a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria that levelled buildings while many were still asleep. Footage shared online (pictured) showed the total collapse of a building in Sanlıurfa, Turkey
Pictured: A rescuer carried an injured child away from the rubble of a collapsed building in rebel-held Syria, following a deadly earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday
Pictured: A young child is rescued from underneath the rubble of a collapsed building on Monday morning. Rescue workers are pouring through the rubble to find survivors
Pictured: A 10-year-old girl is seen being rescued from a pile of rubble in Osmaniye, Turkey
Residents fled from homes in terror in cities across southeast Turkey and Syria, taking shelter in cars fearing aftershocks and collapsing buildings. Pictured: Rescue workers in Osmaniye, Turkey are seen on top of a huge mound of rubble as they search for survivors
Pictured: An aerial view of a destroyed building in Gaziantep, southern Turkey. The quake – which could be Turkey’s largest ever on record – was centred north of Gaziantep, Turkey, which is about 60 miles from the Syrian border and has a population of bout 2 million
Tremors from the deadly quake – which lasted about a minute – were felt as far away as the island of Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon, and a tsunami warning was briefly issued by authorities in Italy along the country’s coast
Meanwhile, at least 371 people have been killed and around 1,042 injured in government-controlled regions of Syria, with the victims mostly in Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus and Hama, Syrian officials said in their own update.
The White Helmets said at least a further 221 people were killed in rebel-held areas in Syria, bringing the overall reported death toll from the quake to 1,606 so far across the three regions (Turkey, government-controlled Syria and rebel-controlled Syria).
The volunteer civil defence organisation said the quake has ‘resulted in hundreds of injuries, dozens of deaths, and people being stranded in the winter cold’.
‘The toll may increase as many families are still trapped,’ the White Helmets, which operates in rebel-controlled areas of the war-torn country, said. ‘Our teams are on the ground [are] searching for survivors and removing the dead from the rubble.’
The death toll across the whole affected region is expected to climb as rescue teams work throughout Monday to find more people trapped under collapsed buildings.
It was unclear if more casualties had been caused by the second quake.
Earlier, 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. He urged people not to enter damaged buildings due to the risks, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.
‘Our priority is to bring out people trapped under ruined buildings and to transfer them to hospitals,’ he said.
At least 2,800 rescue teams have been deployed across Turkey, and the Turkish armed forces have set up an air corridor to enable search and rescue teams to reach the affected zones, the country’s defence ministry said on Monday.
‘We mobilised our planes to send medical teams, search and rescue teams and their vehicles to the earthquake zone,’ Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
However, there was some early criticism of the rescue efforts in parts of Turkey.
According to the BBC’s Turkish Language service, Suzan Sahi of the opposition Republican People’s Party said: ‘I am in the Iskenderun region. The district is in a grave condition. More than 30 of our buildings were destroyed. The old SSK hospital was destroyed. We are in a very bad situation.
‘The main thing is this. It has been so many hours. The rescue work has not started yet. There is no AFAD [the disaster and emergency agency], no government officials. The bodies almost cannot be transported to the hospitals.
‘Materials such as tents and blankets could not be distributed. Our people are dead. No one came from 4am to 1pm.’
Pictured: A young boy is seen being pulled from the rubble by rescuers in Syria in a video, after the earthquake struck overnight
Pictured: Rescue workers carry a 10-year-old girl down from a huge mound of rubble on a stretcher in Osmaniye, Turkey on Monday morning
Pictured: An aerial view of a neighbourhood in Osmaniye, Turkey on Monday morning after the country was hit by the deadly earthquake. At least two apartment blocks can be seen completely flattened, while none have been spared from damage
Pictured: An aerial view shows a search and rescue operation being carried out in the debris of a building in Cukurova district of Adana after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern provinces of Turkey overnight on February 6, 2023
Pictured: A destroyed elementary school is seen in Hatay, Turkey on Monday
Pictured: Search and rescue teams search survivors through the rubble of a collapsed building in Diyarbakir, Turkey on Monday
Pictured: The interior of apartments in a destroyed block can be seen in Diyarbakir, Turkey
Pictured: Rescue teams work to clear the rubble from the site of a destroyed building
Pictured: A woman walks past the historical Gaziantep Castle, which was damaged in the quake on Monday morning
SYRIA: Civilians watch on as rescue workers search through the rubble of a destroyed building in the Syrian capital of Aleppo after the earthquake devastated the region
Pictured: Civilians watch on as rescuers look for survivors in the Syrian city of Aleppo after the earthquake rocked the war-torn city
Pictured: Rescuers scour the site of a fallen building in Aleppo, Syria on Monday
Residents stand in front of a collapsed building following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, in the countryside of Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province, on February 6, 2023
This aerial view shows residents looking for victims amidst the rubble of a collapsed building following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, in the countryside of Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province, on February 6, 2023
Images on Turkish television showed rescuers digging through the rubble of levelled buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras and neighbouring Gaziantep, where entire sections of cities were destroyed. Pazarcik, which lies between the two cities, was described by one resident to The Guardian as being ‘in ruins’.
Buildings also crumbled in the cities of Adiyaman, Malatya and Diyarbakir, where AFP news agency reporters saw panicked people rush out on to the street to escape.
Kahramanmaras Governor Omer Faruk Coskun said it was too early to estimate the death toll because so many buildings had been destroyed.
‘It is not possible to give the number of dead and injured at the moment because so many buildings have been destroyed,’ Coskun said. ‘The damage is serious.’
Elsewhere, a famous mosque dating back to the 13th century partially collapsed in the province of Maltaya, where a 14-story building with 28 apartments also fell.
Other mosques around the region were being opened up as a shelter for people unable to return to damaged homes amid temperatures that were close to freezing.
The quake heavily damaged Gaziantep’s most famed landmark, its historic castle perched atop a hill in the centre of the city. Parts of the fortresses’ walls and watch towers were levelled and other parts were heavily damaged, images showed.
In other cities, anguished rescuers struggled to reach survivors trapped under the debris. ‘We hear voices here – and over there, too,’ one rescuer was overheard as saying on NTV television in front of a flattened building in the city of Diyarbakir.
‘There may be 200 people under the rubble.’
Several clips were posted to social media from the scenes of rescue operations. In one clip, at least five people – including two children – were filmed as they were helped through narrow gap amongst the wreckage of a building, and through a ‘tunnel’ that remained clear enough for people to escape through to the outside.
It was unclear from the 90-second clip how many people in total had been in the home at the time of the building’s collapse, but it appeared the family had fortuitously found themselves in a pocket of space inside the destroyed structure.