Fresh 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocks Turkey two weeks after devastating quake that killed 46,000
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the Turkey-Syria border region on Monday just two weeks after the area was devastated by a larger quake which killed more than 46,000 people.
A report by the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre came hours after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Turkey that Washington would help “for as long as it takes” after devastating, deadly earthquakes in the same region two weeks ago.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said three people were killed and 213 injured in the new magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday.
Search and rescue efforts were underway in three collapsed buildings where a total of five people were believed trapped.
The quake was centred near the Turkish town of Defne in Hatay province and was felt in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.
It struck at a depth of just 2km (1.2 miles), the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said, magnifying its impact at ground level.
Lutfu Savas, the mayor of Hatay said a number of buildings collapsed, trapping people inside.
He said they are believed to be people who had either returned to homes or were trying to move furniture from damaged properties.
Some media outlets in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo regions reported that some buildings had collapsed and electricity and internet services were interrupted in areas.
The media outlets said many people fled their homes and were gathering in open areas.
State news agency Sana reported that six people weretaken to hospital in the northern city of Aleppo as a result of falling debris.
The White Helmets group reported that several people were injured in the rebel-held north west after they jumped from buildings or were struck by falling debris in the town of Jinderis, one of the most affected town by the February 6 earthquake.
Muna Al Omar said she was in a tent in a park in central Antakya when the latest quake hit.
“I thought the earth was going to split open under my feet,” she said crying as she held her 7-year-old son in her arms.
The quakes on February 6, which also hit neighbouring Syria, left more than a million homeless and killed far more than the latest official tally of over 46,000 people in both countries.
They devastated southern Turkey in the dead of winter, with overnight temperatures near freezing, leaving many emergency tents inadequate for the homeless. More than two million others have evacuated the region that was home to more than 13 million.
The earthquakes revealed the fragility of Turkey’s infrastructure, experts said, given they ravaged both modern and ancient buildings including hospitals, mosques, churches and schools.
Days after Turkey’s worst earthquake in modern history, President Tayyip Erdogan vowed to rebuild the southern disaster zone within a year, an undertaking conservative estimates put at $25 billion and others expect to be far higher.
As of Monday morning, 197 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid had entered northwest Syria through two border crossings, a spokesperson UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey have returned to their homes in northwest Syria to get in touch with relatives affected by the devastation.
At the Turkish Cilvegozu border crossing, hundreds of Syrians lined up starting early on Monday to cross.
Mustafa Hannan, who dropped off his pregnant wife and three-year-old son, said he saw about 350 people waiting.
The 27-year-old car electrician said his family was leaving for a few months after their home in Antakya collapsed, taking up a pledge by authorities allowing them to spend up to six months in Syria without losing the chance to return to Turkey.
“I’m worried they won’t be allowed back,” he said. “We’ve already been separated from our nation. Are we going to be separated from our families now too? If I rebuild here but they can’t return, my life will be lost.”