(Photo Credit: NDTV)
Two weeks after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria, another earthquake struck both countries, causing more buildings to collapse and injuring hundreds of people; Turkiye’s interior ministry also reported the death of at least three people.
The epicenter of the 6.4 magnitude quake that struck at 8 pm local time on Monday, 20 February, was located near the town of Uzunbag in Turkiye’s Hatay Province. The quake also struck northwestern Syria and was felt strongly in Lebanon. The extent of the casualties is currently unknown.
According to reporting from the New York Times, in Syria, people were hurt in stampedes as residents sought to escape their buildings to reach safety in open areas. In some instances, people jumped from balconies to escape.
An AFP journalist reported on scenes of panic in the Turkish city of Antakya, where the latest quake caused dust clouds to rise above the city as walls of badly damaged buildings crumbled.
A resident interviewed by AFP, Ali Mazlum, said he was looking for the bodies of family members from the previous earthquake when the latest one hit.
“You don’t know what to do… we grabbed each other, and right in front of us, the walls started to fall. It felt like the earth was opening up to swallow us up,” he said.
The death toll from the devastating earthquake that hit Turkiye and Syria on 6 February had risen to 44,000, according to the Turkish ministry of interior, while the United Nations has appealed for $1 billion to address the growing humanitarian crisis. The Turkish disaster management agency said 38,044 people had died in Turkiye and 5,800 in Syria since 6 February due to the first quake.
Since February, the agency also reported over 6,000 aftershocks struck the 11 provinces, constituting the disaster zone. A few dozen of them had a magnitude between 5 and 6. The new quake further complicates efforts to provide shelter to survivors still in the area.
The new quakes come just one day after Turkiye announced its rescue teams had stopped recovery efforts in all but two of the hardest-hit provinces. “In many of our provinces, search and rescue efforts have been completed. They continue in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay provinces,” Disaster Relief Agency chief Yunus Sezer announced. Efforts continued in Antakya and Kahmaranmaraş, which had been rendered largely uninhabitable by the first quake.