Istanbul: A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing dozens, levelling buildings while people were still in their sleep, and sending tremors that were felt as far away as the island of Cyprus.
According to the American Geological Survey USGS, according to the preliminary information available now, the intensity of the earthquake has been measured at 7.8.
According to the USGS, the epicenter of the earthquake was Nurda, 26 km east of Turkey. This area is near Gaziantep.
Gaziantep has a population of about two million, of whom half a million are Syrian refugees. It is believed that the earthquake may cause large-scale loss of life and property.
The news agency Reuters, quoting the German Research Center of Geosciences (GFZ), described it as a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. According to GFG, the epicenter of the earthquake was 10 kilometers below the ground.
Forty-two people were killed in government-controlled parts of Syria, state media said, while a local hospital told AFP that eight others were killed in northern areas controlled by pro-Turkish factions.
“Forty-two deaths and 200 injuries have been reported in Aleppo, Hama and Latakia as a result of the earthquake in a preliminary toll,” state news agency SANA said quoting a health ministry official
Multiple apartment buildings have collapsed after a powerful earthquake in southern Turkey pic.twitter.com/wydrBj94RL— BNO News (@BNONews) February 6, 2023
The news agency AFP has described it as a 7.9 magnitude earthquake.
The tremors of the earthquake that occurred near Gaziantep were felt throughout the region. According to Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT, people came out of their homes and gathered on the streets after the earthquake.
An eyewitness told Reuters that the tremors were felt for about a minute.
Syrian state television reported that a building near Latakia, on the west coast of Syria, had collapsed.
Pro-government media said several buildings had partially collapsed in Hama, central Syria, with civil defence and firefighters working to pull survivors out of the rubble.
Raed Ahmed, who heads Syria’s National Earthquake Centre, told pro-government radio that this was “historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the centre”.
Naci Gorur, an earthquake expert with Turkey’s Academy of Sciences, urged local officials to immediately check the region’s dams for cracks to avert potentially catastrophic floodings.
Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones
The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999 — the worst to hit Turkey in decades.
That quake killed more than 17,000 people, including about 1,000 in Istanbul.