Reported by Mert Ozkan, Ece Toksabay and Kinda Makieh, Edited by News Gate Team
An earthquake that slammed central Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday claimed the lives of over 1,300 people and wounded thousands more. The earthquake caused apartment buildings to collapse and further damage Syrian communities that had already been decimated by years of war.
The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.8, struck Turkey in the early hours of a winter morning. Cyprus and Lebanon were also affected.
Rescuers working in the harsh winter climate rescued victims from the debris all around the area.
“We were violently trembled. At home, there were nine of us. I’m waiting for my two boys who are still in the ruins “In an ambulance next to the rubble of her former home, a seven-story building in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey, a woman with a fractured arm and facial injuries said.
According to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, 2,818 structures fell, leaving 912 people dead and 5,383 wounded.
Erdogan stated that he was unable to foresee how much the death toll would increase as search and rescue operations went on.
More than 326 people have died and 1,042 have been injured in Syria, which has already been devastated by more than 11 years of civil conflict, according to the health ministry. Rescuers reported 147 deaths in the northwest of Syria, which is controlled by rebels.
The only thing that was left of a large structure in Diyarbakir was a mound of debris, and there were scores of rescue workers combing through it for survivors while carting out pieces of the wreckage. They sometimes raised their hands and commanded silence as they searched for signs of life.
From a city structure that had collapsed, men took a girl who was covered in blankets.
“A loud boom and violent shaking roused us from sleep. Right after that, there were two aftershocks “explained 29-year-old Meryem, who hails from Kahramanmaras, a city in southeast Turkey close to the epicentre.
“I was terrified and believed it would never end. I left the building after grabbing a few things for my 1-year-old kid.”
Twitter users shared video of two nearby buildings in Aleppo, Syria, falling one after the other and sending clouds of dust pouring into the air. Buildings fell in the hours following the earthquake, according to two inhabitants of the seriously devastated city.
Ziad Hage Taha, head of health in Aleppo, told Reuters that the wounded were “arriving in waves.”
In the midst of a downpour and sleet, rescue crews were shown looking for survivors on Syrian official television.
Rescuers from the White Helmets response organisation looked for individuals trapped in a fallen structure in the pre-dawn darkness in the town of Afrin, which is controlled by the Syrian opposition. They extricated a man wearing a white vest and dark pants from the wreckage using just a torch, taking him away for treatment.
Another rebel-held region, the border town of Azaz, saw a rescuer removing a little child from a destroyed structure.
Abdul Salam al Mahmoud, a Syrian who was called by Reuters from the village of Atareb, stated, “It felt like the end of the world.”
According to his administration, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called an urgent cabinet meeting to assess the damage and deliberate the next course of action.
According to witnesses, many fled their homes in fear of building collapses in Damascus, Beirut, and Tripoli in Lebanon, as well as in Damascus.
The famous Gaziantep Castle was shown in footage from the network CNNTurk to be seriously damaged.
Video from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority shows a rescuer crawling through a fallen building in the Turkish city of Malatya in an effort to locate a survivor trapped beneath the rubble (AFAD).
“What shade are your clothes? Do you have pink on? As I am unable to see any other options, please take care of yourself for the time being “The voice of the rescuer could be heard.
According to Erdogan, 45 nations have pledged to assist with search and rescue operations.
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan tweeted that the United States was “profoundly worried” about the earthquake and was following developments. We are prepared to offer whatever support that is required, he added.
According to the USGS, the earthquake occurred 17.9 kilometres beneath the surface. It listed many earthquakes, including one with a magnitude of 6.7.
There are seismic fault lines in the area.
According to Mohammad Kashani, an associate professor of structural and seismic engineering at the University of Southampton, “the combination of huge magnitude and shallow depth made this earthquake very devastating.”
It was the most devastating earthquake to hit Turkey since 1999, when a similar-sized earthquake near Istanbul that also ravaged Izmit and the densely populated eastern Marmara Sea area killed over 17,000 people.
Ankara, the capital of Turkey, which is 460 kilometres (286 miles) from the epicentre, and Cyprus, where there was no damage, both experienced tremors.