Strong earthquake of magnitude 7.8 in Turkey

A 7.8-magnitude quake has destroyed several buildings in southeastern Turkey and Syria, and many casualties are feared.

At least five deaths were initially reported in Turkey.

The US Geological Survey said the center of the quake was about 33 kilometers (20 miles) from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital. It was felt in several provinces.

According to the US Geological Survey, it was at a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles). A strong 6.7 magnitude aftershock rumbled about 10 minutes later.

A Turkish BBC correspondent in Diyarbakir reported that a shopping center in the city had collapsed. According to BBC News, the quake was felt in the capital Ankara and other Turkish cities, as well as across the region.

In northwestern Syria, the opposition Syrian Civil Defense described the situation in the rebel-held region as “catastrophic,” adding that entire buildings had collapsed and people were trapped under the rubble.

Civil Defense urged people to evacuate buildings to gather in open spaces.

People gather near a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Diyarbakir
In this social media image, people gather near a building that collapsed after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on February 6, 2023.

Aslan Avda/via REUTERS

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency AFAD said the quake measured a magnitude of 7.4 and was concentrated in the city of Pazarcik in Kahramanmaras province.

The earthquake came as the Middle East is experiencing a snowstorm that is expected to last through Thursday.

The earthquake was also felt in Lebanon and Syria.

Syria’s state media reported that some buildings in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama had collapsed.

According to the opposition Syrian civil defense, several buildings collapsed in rebel-controlled north-western Syria, which borders Turkey.

In Damascus, buildings shook and many people took to the streets in fear.

The tremor jolted residents of Lebanon from their beds and shook buildings for about 40 seconds. Many Beirut residents left their homes and took to the streets or drove their cars away from buildings.

Turkey lies on major fault lines and is frequently rocked by earthquakes.

About 18,000 people died in 1999 in a powerful earthquake in north-west Turkey. Strong earthquake of magnitude 7.8 in Turkey

Rick Schindler

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