Earthquake Deaths Pass 5,000 in Turkey and Syria
Adana, Turkey, 7 Feb (ONA) --- Rescuers today raced to find survivors in the rubble of thousands of buildings brought down by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks that struck eastern Turkey and neighbouring Syria, with the discovery of more bodies raising the death toll to more than 5,000.
Countries around the world dispatched teams to assist in the rescue efforts. Turkey’s disaster management agency said more than 24,400 emergency personnel were now on the ground. But with such a wide swath of territory hit by Monday’s earthquake and nearly 6,000 buildings confirmed to have collapsed in Turkey alone, their efforts were spread thin.
Attempts to reach survivors were also impeded by temperatures below freezing and close to 200aftershocks, which made the search through unstable structures perilous.
The region sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Some 18,000 were killed in similarly powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey in 1999.
The US Geological Survey measured Monday’s quake at 7.8, with a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles). Hours later, another quake, likely triggered by the first, struck more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) away with 7.5 magnitude.
Thousands of buildings were reported collapsed in a wide area extending from Syria’s cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 330 kilometers (200 miles) to the northeast.