Hundreds confirmed dead and casualties keeps rising as a 7.8 magnitude earth quake struck a wide area in Turkey and Syria, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
Over 300 people were killed and more than 1,000 others injured in Turkey and Syria after a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck a wide area near the two countries’ border, according to authorities.
The US Geological Survey said the tremor occurred at 4.17 a.m. at a depth of 17.9 km near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, reports the BBC reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake.
Addressing reporters, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleymon Soylu said the 10 cities of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir and Kilis were affected.
While in Malatya province, north-east of Gaziantep, at least 23 people were killed, in Sanliurfa, to the east, there were 17 deaths, the Minister said, adding that the rest of the fatalities were reported in Diyarbakir and Osmaniye.
About 440 people were injured in Turkey and 639 in Syria.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Health Ministry said that 237 people were killed due to the quake which was also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.
The fatalities were reported in the regions of Aleppo, Hama, Tartus and Latakia, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.
The agency quoted Deputy Minister of Health Ahmad Damiriyeh as saying that general emergency plans have been implemented to provide for the affected areas and that private hospitals have been ordered to receive all injured cases, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Ministry of Transport announced earlier the suspension of train traffic on all railways as a precautionary measure, pending inspection of the bridges and tracks of the railway network.
Authorities in the two neighbouring nations fear an increase in the death toll as many buildings have collapsed and rescue teams were deployed to search for survivors under huge piles of rubble.
The initial quake was followed by another one measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale at 4.26 a.m., Xinhua news agency quoted Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), as saying.
At least 50 successive earthquakes were recorded with a maximum magnitude of 6.6, said AFAD.
Widespread damage was reported in at least 10 provinces in southern and southeastern Turkey, it added.
India offers assistance
Expressing concern and shock over the massive earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that India’s “140 crore people are with the victims of the earthquake in Turkey”.
Speaking after inaugurating the India Energy Week, PM Modi said, “We are focusing on Turkey presently which has suffered from a huge earthquake. Large number of people have lost their lives and it has caused huge losses to the country.”
PM Modi further stated that the surrounding countries of Turkey also suffered heavy losses due to the impact of the earthquake. India is ready to help earthquake victims, he stated.
Earlier, in response to a tweet by Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Modi said, “Anguished by the loss of lives and damage of property due to the Earthquake in Turkey. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey and is ready to offer all possible assistance to cope with this tragedy.”
The US National Security Advisor also took to Twitter and assured Turkey of timely assistance for the quake-hit country to cope well.
He tweeted, “The U.S. is profoundly concerned by today’s destructive earthquake in Turkiye & Syria. I have been in touch with Turkish officials to relay that we stand ready to provide any & all needed assistance. We will continue to monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye closely.”
Multiple aftershocks followed the quake.