Two main earthquakes shake Turkey and Syria, the loss of life toll exceeds 2,400

People search through debris after an earthquake in Adana, Turkey, February 6, 2023.

Iha | Reuters

A second 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday, within 12 hours of a first massive quake that already claimed hundreds of Turkish and Syrian lives.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said the second quake struck at 1:32 p.m. local time at a depth of 7 km and had its epicenter in the Elbistan region of Kahramanmaras province. The first strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 also shook southeast Turkey and northern Syria on Monday morning.

The total death toll has risen to 2,452. In Turkey, 1,541 people died, 9,733 were injured and around 3,471 buildings collapsed during the catastrophic incident, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the event on Monday the “greatest disaster” since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake.

The Syrian Ministry of Health reported 461 dead and 1,326 injured in Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartous regions. The White Helmets Humanitarian Rescue Service, which operates in opposition-controlled parts of Syria, most recently put the death toll in Syria at nearly 381, with over 1,000 injured.

As a result of the earthquake, the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government has temporarily halted the export of its crude oil through the Kurdistan-Turkey Pipeline, which leads to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

“Exports will resume after careful inspection of the pipelines,” KRG spokesman Lawk Ghafuri said on Twitter.

People search through debris after an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 6, 2023.

Sertac Kayar | Reuters

The European Union said in a statement that it had mobilized 10 search and rescue teams in response to the tragedy: “10 urban search and rescue teams were quickly mobilized from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania to support the first responders on site,” it said.

“Italy and Hungary have also offered their rescue teams to Türkiye.

The EU said it was also ready to support Syria through its humanitarian aid programmes. In May 2022, the EU Council extended its sanctions against President Bashar Assad’s regime for a further year until June 2023, “given the ongoing repression of the civilian population in the country”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to Ankara and Damascus and made offers of assistance, Moscow’s state news agency Tass reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying his country has received and will fulfill requests for assistance from both Turkey and Syria – in a rare instance of cooperation with Damascus, with which Israel has strained relations.

People search through debris after an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 6, 2023.

Sertac Kayar | Reuters

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