Second Powerful Quake Strikes Turkey and Syria: Toll Rises to Over 1,500 

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Another massive earthquake in less than 12 hours hit the southeast of Turkey. State media in Syria also said Damascus was affected by the latest large quake.

Clarion India

ISTANBUL/DAMASCUS — Two powerful earthquakes rocked Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing more than 1,500 people and injuring thousands more.

Photos showing the true scale of the disaster emerged as the day broke. Entire city blocks were flattened by the quake, metal rods were strewn across the streets and vehicles toppled over. Rescuers were still working to free people trapped under the rubble.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said that preliminary data showed the first quake measured 7.7 magnitude on the Richter scale, and was 67 km northeast of Kahramanmaras, Turkey, at a depth of 2 km. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority stated that the second quake was slightly smaller at 7.6 magnitude and at a greater depth, media reports said.

The combined official death toll from the first quake in Turkey and Syria had already risen to over 1,500, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan describing it as the country’s largest disaster since 1939. He said that 912 people had been killed, with 5,383 wounded.

Syria’s state news agency reported more than 320 dead in the country, with over 1,000 wounded. The White Helmets rescue service has also reported that 147 people had died and more than 340 were injured in Syria in areas where it operates.

The first quake struck as people slept, and measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, one of the most powerful quakes in the region in at least a century. Search and rescue operations have been hampered by poor weather. Turkey’s president said that over 45 nations had so far offered assistance.

The European Union is sending rescue teams and preparing further help for Turkey, the bloc’s crisis management commissioner said.

“Teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way,” with the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre overseeing their deployment, commissioner Janez Lenarcic tweeted.

In 1939, an earthquake of the same magnitude killed 30,000 people, according to the USGS. Earthquakes of this magnitude are rare, with fewer than five occurring each year on average, anywhere in the world. Seven quakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater have struck Turkey in the past 25 years.

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