Death Toll in Turkey and Syria Rising After Earthquake: 1,500 Victims And Thousands Injured

According to Turkish President Erdogan, the earthquake in southern Turkey has left 912 dead and nearly 5,400 injured. More than 592 deaths have already occurred in Syria. Erdogan describes the quake as the biggest disaster since 1939.

There is a good chance that the death toll will rise even further in the coming hours.

The earthquake (at a depth of about 18 kilometres) with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale struck at 4.17 am local time near Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey. “I have never felt anything like this in my 40 years,” Erdem, a resident of Gaziantep, told Reuters news agency. “We were shaken very hard at least three times, like a baby in his crib.”

At least 912 people were killed and more than 5,385 injured in Turkey. Turkish President Erdogan reports this. Buildings have been destroyed in many cities in the southeast of the country, leading to fears of many casualties. The Syrian government said at least 371 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, controlled by the Syrian regime, and the death toll could rise. In areas under rebel control, rescue services have reported 221 dead and 419 injured. This brings the balance for all of Syria to 592 dead.

The earthquake was also felt in Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon. People also took to the streets en masse in Damascus, Beirut and Tripoli, fearing the collapse of their homes.

The magnitude of the disaster is incalculable. At least nine provinces in southeastern Turkey, including Kahramanmaras and Diyarbakir, are more than 300 kilometres apart, according to official reports. Countless houses have collapsed. In Malatya province alone, 140 buildings collapsed. “People have fled their homes and are now too afraid to return,” said Erdem from Gaziantep. “Everyone is in their car or trying to drive into open space away from buildings.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already expressed his condolences to the citizens affected by the earthquake. Erdogan also said that the government’s disaster management agency AFAD coordinates emergency services, and rescuers are on their way to the area. “We hope that together we will overcome this disaster as quickly as possible and with as little damage as possible; we will continue to work.”

Turkey is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In 1999, an earthquake in Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul, killed more than 17,000 people. And in 2011, more than 500 people were killed in an earthquake in the eastern city of Van.

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