Turkey, Syria Rocked by Powerful Quakes, Death Toll Surpasses 1,500
Turkey, Syria Rocked by Powerful Quakes, Death Toll Surpasses 1,500

By Adam Morrow

Southern Turkey was shaken by a second powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale at 1:24 p.m. local time on Feb. 6.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the earthquake’s epicenter was in the Elbistan district of southern Kahramanmaras Province at a depth of 4.3 miles.

“We had a second earthquake just over half an hour ago,” Abdulkadir Aytac, a 52-year-old baker in the Elbistan district, told The Epoch Times.

“There are many collapsed buildings in the area and those that are still standing are in bad shape,” he added. “More buildings will definitely come down if there’s an aftershock.”

A man reacts as people search for survivors through the rubble in Diyarbakir, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s southeast, on Feb. 6, 2023. (Ilyas Akengin/AFP via Getty Images)

The earthquake came roughly nine hours after the same region was rocked by an initial 7.7-magnitude quake that left hundreds dead and thousands more injured in 10 provinces of southern Turkey.

As of the time of writing, local authorities had put the casualty toll—which is expected to climb further—at 1,014 dead and 5,385 injured, while more than 2,800 buildings have reportedly collapsed as a result of the tremors.

The quake also caused widespread damage in northern Syria, where at least 476 people have been killed and hundreds injured, according to Syria’s SANA news agency.

The epicenter of the first earthquake, which occurred at 4:14 a.m. local time, was in the Pazarcik district of Turkey’s Kahramanmaras Province, according to local authorities.

In addition to Kahramanmaras, the first earthquake affected Turkey’s southern provinces of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.

Emergency teams are currently in the process of digging local residents out from under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

In this video grab from AFP TV, rescuers search for victims of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Diyarbakir, in southeastern Turkey, leveling buildings across several cities and causing damages in neighboring Syria, on Feb. 6, 2023. (Mahmut Bozarslan/AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

According to local press reports, more than 2,400 survivors have so far been successfully retrieved from under the rubble, although it is feared that thousands more remain trapped.

Orhan Tatar, AFAD’s general director of earthquake and risk reduction, was quoted by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency as saying that there was still “serious earthquake activity in the region.”

He added that aftershocks of up to 6.7 in magnitude would likely continue for the next several hours.

Speaking shortly before the second quake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the incident as the “biggest natural disaster” since a 1939 earthquake in Turkey’s central province of Erzincan that left more than 32,000 people dead.

A number of countries have already extended their condolences to Turkey for the deadly incident and have offered help in various capacities.

In 1999, Turkey’s northwestern Izmit Province was rocked by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that left more than 17,000 people dead.

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