Deadly new quakes trap people under rubble in Turkeyon February 21, 2023 at 1:27 am

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At least three people die in the new tremors, weeks after massive quakes devastated the same region.

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Three people have died after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday, weeks after a deadly quake devastated the region.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said 213 people had also been injured.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency Afad said the tremor occurred at 20:04 local time (17:04 GMT).

A 7.8-magnitude quake struck the same area on 6 February, killing more than 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Those killed by Monday’s tremor were found in Antakya, Defne, and Samandagi, Mr Soylu said, urging people not to enter potentially dangerous buildings.

Witnesses told the Reuters news agency there had been further damage to buildings in Antakya, while the mayor of Hatay, in southern Turkey, said people were trapped under rubble.

“I thought the earth was going to split open under my feet,” Muna al-Omar, a local resident, told Reuters, crying as she held her seven-year-old son. She was in a tent in a park in central Antakya when the latest earthquake hit, she said.

People react after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit in Antakya, southern Turkey, on Monday

Image source, Reuters

Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since the 6 February earthquake, but the BBC’s team in the region said the latest tremor felt much stronger than previous ones.

Monday’s earthquake hit near the Turkey-Syria border, and the White Helmets civil defence group said more than 100 people were injured in Syria, with buildings collapsing and widespread panic.

The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation said that five of its hospitals received at least 30 people with injuries from the latest earthquake, but added that damage to its medical facilities “appears to be minimal”.

The earthquake was also reportedly felt in Egypt and Lebanon.

Afad said there were 32 aftershocks following Monday’s tremor, the largest of which had a magnitude of 5.8.

There is fear and panic in the streets – lines of ambulances and rescue crews are trying to get to some of the worst affected areas where the walls of badly damaged buildings have collapsed.

A number of structures that were left standing after the tremor on 6 February have now crumbled, including a bridge. Many cracks in roads have become deep scars making it more difficult for the emergency services to get where they may be needed.

An AFP journalist reported on scenes of panic in Antakya, the capital of Hatay Province which was already devastated by the previous earthquake – with the latest tremors raising clouds of dust in the city.

The walls of buildings also crumbled, AFP reports, with several apparently injured people calling for help.

Ali Mazlum said he was looking for the bodies of family members from the previous earthquake when the latest one hit.

“You don’t know what to do… we grabbed each other and right in front of us, the walls started to fall. It felt like the earth was opening up to swallow us up,” he said.

In a tweet, Afad initially urged people to stay away from coastlines as a precaution against the risk of rising sea levels, although the warning was later removed.

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