A new earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on Monday affected parts of Turkey and Syria which was devastated two weeks ago by a massive earthquake that killed around 45,000 people.
Monday’s earthquake was centered in the city of Defne in Turkey’s Hatay province, one of the worst-hit regions in the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck on February 6. It was felt in Syria, Jordan, Israel and as far away as Egypt, and was followed by a second, magnitude 5.8 temblor.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said three people were killed and 213 injured. Search and rescue operations were underway in three collapsed buildings where a total of five people were believed to be trapped.
A number of buildings collapsed in the new earthquake, trapping people inside, Hatay Mayor Lutfu Savas said. He told NTV television that those trapped could be people who had either returned to their homes or were trying to move furniture from damaged homes.
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There were no immediate reports of any deaths. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said at least eight people were hospitalized in Turkey. Syria’s state news agency, SANA, reported that six people were injured in Aleppo by falling debris.
The February 6 quake has killed nearly 45,000 people in both countries – the vast majority of them in Turkey. Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since then.
HaberTurk journalists reporting from Hatay said they were violently shaken by Monday’s earthquake and held each other to avoid falling.
In the Turkish city of Adana, eyewitness Alejandro Malaver said people left their homes for the streets, carrying blankets in their cars. Malaver said everyone is really scared and that “nobody wants to come back to their houses.”
The Syrian opposition Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, reported that several people were injured in Syria’s rebel-held northwest after jumping from buildings or being hit by falling debris in the town of Jinderis, one of the worst-hit towns. of the February 6 earthquake.
The White Helmets added that several damaged and abandoned buildings collapsed in Syria’s northwest without injuring anyone.
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The Syrian American Medical Society, which runs hospitals in northern Syria, said it had treated a number of patients _ including a 7-year-old boy _ who suffered heart attacks caused by fear after the new earthquake.
Oktay said damage inspections were underway in Hatay and urged citizens to stay away from damaged buildings and to carefully follow the instructions of rescue teams. Authorities issued a warning to citizens to stay away from the coast due to the risk of rising sea levels, but the warning was lifted a couple of hours later.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Hatay earlier on Monday and said his government would start building close to 200,000 new homes in the earthquake-ravaged region as early as next month.
On Monday, AFAD raised the number of confirmed deaths from the earthquake in Turkey to 41,156. That brings the total death toll in both Turkey and Syria to 44,844.
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