Death toll rises after major quakes rock country’s south

Death toll rises after major quakes rock country’s south

Death toll rises after major quakes rock country’s south

At least 8,574 people died and 40,910 others were injured after two deadly earthquakes and more than 300 aftershocks rattled the country’s south, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) announced on Feb. 8.

The magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck seven kilometers (4.3 miles) below the surface in Kahramanmaraş’s Pazarcık district on Feb. 6 at 4:17 a.m., according to AFAD’s Earthquake and Risk Reduction Directorate.

The earthquake also rocked the neighboring provinces of Hatay, Adıyaman, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Adana, Malatya, Osmaniye and Kilis and neighboring countries, including Syria and Lebanon.

Another 7.6-magnitude earthquake followed the first one, which also jolted southern Türkiye. Over 300 aftershocks were experienced in the region, AFAD announced.

Thousands of buildings collapsed in 10 provinces due to the massive earthquake, while the number of buildings have not been confirmed yet but were reported to have toppled is much higher, AFAD informed.

The most severe damage in the earthquake occurred in Hatay, where at least 1,647 people lost their lives, local media reported, though the epicenter of the shake was Kahramanmaraş, where the quake claimed the lives of at least 1,243 people.

The first light early on Feb. 7 revealed the effect of the earthquake in the city center of Hatay, where a hospital and a runway at the airport were destroyed, with many people still waiting under the rubble in the city as dozens of buildings collapsed and roads cracked.

Rescue teams are racing against time to reach the citizens under the rubble, while relatives of the trapped are following the works in worry.

While the city was echoing with the voices of citizens calling out the names of their relatives under the rubble to find them, some were waiting for the news from their families by the fire they lit on the street to stay warm.

A fire also broke out in İskenderun Port due to containers that fell during the earthquake.

Meanwhile, Adıyaman witnessed another aftershock with a magnitude of 5.3 early on Feb. 7, while the tremor, the epicenter of which was Gölbaşı district, was also felt in the surrounding provinces. At least 896 people lost their lives in the province.

In Adana, three more buildings collapsed in the Çukurova district after the 7.6 magnitude aftershock. While search and rescue teams continue their efforts to find those trapped under the debris, the total number of destroyed buildings in the city has exceeded 10.

Providing information about possible damage to the dams in Adana, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirişçi said the investigations were completed in more than 90 of the 110 dams.

“Since there is no settlement in the continuation of the Sultansuyu Dam and there is another dam after it, we started to drain its water. There are minor leaks in some dams, but they are not in a critical condition.”

Furthermore, Gaziantep was rocked by three other earthquakes, each of more than 6 magnitude in a row in Nurdağı and İslahiye districts. As a result of the damage to the natural gas transmission line in the province, where at least 504 people died, the natural gas flow was also stopped in Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep and Hatay provinces.

Citizens with chronic diseases in 10 provinces will be able to obtain their medicines for once without a prescription, the Social Security Institution announced on Feb. 8.

“The air force’s planes continue to evacuate those who were injured in the earthquake and bring them to [the capital] Ankara,” the Defense Ministry said in a written statement, while Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu noting that the country issued a level-4 alarm, which includes a call for international aid.

Türkiye lies in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. The 7.4 magnitude Düzce earthquake in 1999 was one of the worst in the history of Türkiye in decades.

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