Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his sadness over the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria in a post on Twitter. As he announced, resources will be immediately activated and aid will be sent to the two countries.
Deeply saddened by the devastating earthquake disaster in Türkiye and Syria. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims and our thoughts are with all the people affected. Greece is mobilizing its resources and will assist immediately.
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) February 6, 2023
"Deeply saddened by the devastating earthquake disaster in Türkiye and Syria. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims and our thoughts are with all the people affected. Greece is mobilizing its resources and will assist immediately," the prime minister said.
More than 300 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit in the early hours of Monday morning, in one of the most powerful quakes to hit the region in at least a century.
Hundreds were injured and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers and residents frantically searched for survivors under the rubble of crushed buildings in cities on both sides of the border.
The quake struck at 04:17 am local time at a depth of about 17.9 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said, with a 6.7-magnitude aftershock striking 15 minutes later.
Turkey’s emergency management ministry, the AFAD, said the quake first struck in the town of Pazarcık, an hour north of Gaziantep, a key industrial city in southern Turkey. The town of Nurdağı, some 80km south-west, was the epicentre of the second tremor.
Television images showed shocked people in Turkey standing in the snow in their pyjamas, watching rescuers dig through the debris of damaged homes. Buildings were levelled while many were still asleep.
Tremors were felt as far away as Lebanon, Greece, Israel and the island of Cyprus.
Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said the governor of the southern province of Şanlıurfa reported 15 people were killed and 30 more injured. In Malatya, a town 225km (140 miles) north-east of Gaziantep, the local governor said at least 23 people had been killed, 420 injured and 140 buildings destroyed.
The Syrian health ministry said at least 245 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus.
In Syria, early footage from local rescue teams suggested the province of Idlib in the north could be one of the worst affected areas, with the quake hitting a region already extensively damaged from over a decade of civil war and where millions are living in areas for those internally displaced.
Horrific news of tonight’s earthquake in #Turkey & northern #Syria — the damage looks extensive.
The epicenter region is home to millions of refugees and IDPs, many of whom live in tents & makeshift structures. This is the absolute nightmare scenario for them. And it’s winter. pic.twitter.com/oACzWYtWb2
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) February 6, 2023
An estimated four million people live in Idlib province.
Syrian state media said a large number of buildings collapsed in the province of Aleppo, while a source in the Hama civil service said several buildings collapsed there.
People in Damascus, as well as in the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli, ran into the street on foot and took to their cars to get away from their buildings in case of collapses, witnesses said.
“Paintings fell off the walls in the house,” said Samer, a resident of Damascus, the Syrian capital. “I woke up terrified. Now we’re all dressed and standing at the door.”
Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones, with land stretching over the Anatolian fault line in the north of the country that has caused large and destructive tremors.
Izmit and the surrounding Kocaeli region, close to Istanbul, was rocked by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 1999, the worst to hit Turkey in decades.
The quake killed over 17,000 people, including at least 1,000 in Istanbul, amid widespread destruction.
Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.
A magnitude-6.8 quake hit Elazığ in January 2020, killing more than 40 people. And in October that year, a magnitude 7.0 quake hit the Aegean Sea, killing 114 people and wounding more than 1,000.
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