Death toll drastically rises in Turkey, Syria earthquake
A strong earthquake hit south-eastern Turkiye, near the border with Syria, in the wee hours of Monday killing over 1700 people and injuring hundreds as buildings collapsed across the region, triggering searches for survivors in the rubble..
A report by US Geological Survey said a powerful quake measuring 7.8 on Richter scale struck at 04:17 local time at a depth of around 18km near Gaziantep – a major city located in Anatolia region.
Soon after the first earthquake, several aftershocks struck the southeastern regions, causing further damage.
At least 912 people killed in Turkiye and 540 casualities reported in Syria after the strong quake hit the region.
Local officials said that several regions of Turkiye reported damage, while rescue operations are underway. The tremors were felt in Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, creating huge panic among the masses.
Several buildings have reportedly collapsed, with people trapped under the rubble.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said rescue units are on alert. He noted that rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the province affected by the earthquake.
Erdogan spoke by telephone with the governors of eight affected provinces to gather information on the situation and rescue efforts, his office said in a statement.
The country of around 85 million lies in one of the world's most active earthquake zones.
In Syria, already devastated by more than 11 years of civil war, a government health official said more than 237 people had been killed and some 600 injured, most in the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia, where numerous buildings tumbled down.
In the Syrian rebel-held northwest, a rescue service said dozens had been killed.