Aftershock Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing 3 and Injuring Hundreds
On Monday, a 6.4 magnitude aftershock struck Turkey and Syria, two weeks after a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. The Interior Minister of Turkey, Suleyman Soylu, reported that three people were killed and 213 were injured as a result of the aftershock. Search and rescue operations have been called off in most of the quake zone, but AFAD (Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency) is continuing its efforts in more than a dozen collapsed buildings, mostly in Hatay province.
The aftershock was centered in the town of Defne in Hatay, a region which was the worst-hit in the initial quake. A magnitude 5.8 temblor was felt in Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, Israel and as far away as Egypt, followed by a second. In Syria, the White Helmets, northwest Syria’s civil defense organization, reported more than 130 injuries, most of them non-life threatening, including fractures and cases of people fainting from fear, while a number of buildings in areas already damaged by the quake collapsed. Six individuals sustained injuries in Aleppo due to debris falling, according to SANA, Syria's state news agency.
In the Turkish city of Adana, eyewitness Alejandro Malaver said people fled their homes for the streets and carried blankets to their cars, where many plan to sleep. When Monday's quakes struck, Muna al-Omar was in a tent in a park located in central Antakya. “I thought the earth was going to split open under my feet,” she said, crying as she held her 7-year-old son. “Is there going to be another aftershock?”
Earlier that day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had visited Türkiye and said that Washington would help “for as long as it takes” as rescue operations in the wake of the Feb 6 earthquake and its aftershocks were winding down, and focus turned to toward urgent shelter and reconstruction work. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey announced that construction on around 200,000 dwellings in 11 provinces affected by earthquakes will commence next month.
On Monday, the disaster management agency in Turkey announced that the number of deaths resulting from the earthquakes two weeks prior had risen to 41,156, and it was anticipated that the figure would continue to increase. Approximately 6,000 individuals perished in Syria.
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