Strong earthquake leaves thousands dead in Turkiye, Syria

Early on Monday, a strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck south-east Turkey and Syria, collapsing buildings and sending terrified citizens running outside into the chilly winter night. In both nations, there have been at least 1300 fatalities, hundreds of injuries, and more deaths are anticipated.

Rescuers and locals hastily combed through the wreckage of collapsed buildings in many cities on both sides of the border looking for survivors. Numerous people in one earthquake-stricken Turkish city broke apart pieces of concrete and bent metal. People on the street called out to those within an apartment building that was dangerously tilting and partially fell.

The epicentre of the earthquake, which was felt as far away as Cairo, was located around 90 kilometres (60 miles) north of the Turkish city of Gaziantep.

Four million Syrians who had been forced to leave other areas of the nation due to the protracted civil conflict were living in opposition-held areas on the Syrian side of the border when the earthquake struck. Many of them live in dilapidated circumstances with inadequate health care. A doctor in the town, Muheeb Qaddour, told The Associated Press over the phone that at least 11 people were murdered in the town of Atmeh and that many more were buried in the debris.

In the north-west, which is controlled by the rebels, “we worry that the dead are in the hundreds,” said Qaddour. “Extreme pressure is on us.”

On the Turkish side, the area contains numerous significant cities and is home to millions of Syrian refugees.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, announced on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were promptly despatched” to the earthquake-affected districts.

We aim to survive this catastrophe as quickly and with as little damage as possible, he wrote.

There were at least six aftershocks, and Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, warned residents against going into damaged structures because of the dangers.

He declared, “Our first priority is getting people out from under the collapsed buildings and getting them to the hospitals.

At least 76 people across seven Turkish regions, according to the body responsible for disaster and emergency management in Turkey. 440 individuals, according to the agency, were hurt.