ISTANBUL: The death toll from massive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has reached 4,800. Rescue operations continue in both countries. The World Health Organization said the death toll would rise eightfold. It is reported that around 18,000 people have been injured in the earthquake. Around 6000 buildings were destroyed in the earthquake. Many countries have offered aid to the disaster area. Disaster relief teams have reached Syria from countries including India.
In Turkey, 3,381 died and 14,483 were injured. Officials said 1,444 people were killed and nearly 1,000 were injured in Syria.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks in Turkey. An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale was felt in southeastern Turkey. An aftershock of 6.7 on the Richter scale was also felt 15 minutes later. There were at least 50 aftershocks.
16 Many buildings collapsed. There are also reports that many people are trapped inside. Movement was felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.
The earthquake affected Aleppo, Hama and Latakia. The Syrian Civil Defense Force said more than 100 people were trapped in the rubble of buildings in the rebel-held Idlib region.
The earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time on Monday. A powerful earthquake occurred while people were sleeping. Footage emerged of shocked people running around in panic. Efforts are on to evacuate people from the collapsed buildings. The epicenter of the earthquake was 17.9 kilometers underground in Gaziantep, south-eastern Turkey, near the border with Syria.
News agencies report that the earthquakes have affected all major cities in south-eastern Turkey. 2818 buildings collapsed. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that it was the first such disaster since 1939 when 2,818 buildings collapsed. The Syrian National Earthquake Monitoring Agency said it was the biggest earthquake in Syria.
The tremors were felt in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and other major cities nearby. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced that the earthquake affected ten cities in Turkey. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced on Twitter that rescue teams have been sent to the disaster area and that the whole country will face the disaster together. After the first tremor, six aftershocks were felt and the authorities have warned people not to go inside the damaged houses.
The United Nations and various countries have announced aid to both countries. India has announced that it will send a rescue team including NDRF to Turkey. Two teams of NDRF consisting of 100 personnel are being sent. The team will be accompanied by doctors and dogsquad trained to provide emergency services in the face of disaster. The decision to send the rescue team was taken in a meeting presided over by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister PK Mishra.
India will stand with the people of Turkey and Syria. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that all help is being offered to overcome the calamity.
The World Health Organization said that emergency medical team networks are operational and providing first aid to those injured in the disaster. The European Union has announced that a 24-hour coordination center has started functioning and services including emergency satellite mapping have started.
Ukraine has expressed its willingness to provide necessary assistance to the people of Turkey. Russia has announced that its IL-76 aircraft will soon arrive in Syria with 100 rescue workers. Russia also said it is ready to send rescue workers to Turkey if necessary.
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