Turkey-Syria earthquakes: Death toll crosses 47,000 after fresh 6.4-magnitude temblor
Fresh quakes of magnitudes 6.4 and 5.8 rocked the border region of Turkey and Syria on Monday, leaving three dead and 213 injured. Officials expect the number of deaths to rise. The epicenter of these earthquakes was located near the southern Turkish city of Antakya. The combined death toll has exceeded 47,000 after a series of devastating earthquakes jolted the region two weeks ago.
Why does this story matter?
- The latest temblors hit as Turkey was winding up rescue efforts, considering the slim chances of finding survivors after more than 300 hours since the first quake of magnitude 7.8 struck on February 6.
- Although the region experiences frequent quakes because of the major fault zones underneath, this episode has proved to be the most devastating in more than a century.
Depth of latest earthquake measured at 10km
The tremors of Monday's quakes were felt in Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon, too. The depth of the earthquake was recorded at 10 kilometers, as per the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). As per Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the total number of deaths in the country stood at 41,156. In war-torn Syria, 4,525 people died, according to the United Nations.
Video shows intensity of Monday's tremor
Turkish officials say many still stuck under rubble
AFAD said one person died, and several other buildings collapsed in Samandag as most residents had already fled the town after the initial earthquakes. It expected the death toll to rise further as around 385,000 apartments so far had collapsed or sustained grave damage. Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the reconstruction of nearly 200,000 apartments in 11 provinces would begin in March.
Syrian refugees reportedly worst affected
Syrian officials said that 1,414 people lost their lives in the government-controlled areas. Thousands of Syrian refugees, who were living in Turkey to escape the decade-long civil war, returned to their families and relatives in northwest Syria. Notably, Syrian refugees in Turkey were the most affected as they lived mostly in shoddy accommodations near the border region where the series of earthquakes struck.
US aid to Turkey-Syria reached $185 million
Visiting Turkey hours before the latest earthquake, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged help from Washington "for as long as it takes." The total US humanitarian aid to support relief in Turkey and Syria reached $185 million, the US State Department said. Non-profit organization Doctors Without Borders said a convoy of 14 trucks entered northwestern Syria from Turkey to aid rescue efforts.