3 killed as fresh quake hits Syria, Turkiye border

Published February 21, 2023
Arsin and his father take their belongings out of their destroyed apartment in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in Antakya, Hatay province, Turkey, on Monday. — AFP
Arsin and his father take their belongings out of their destroyed apartment in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in Antakya, Hatay province, Turkey, on Monday. — AFP

ANTAKYA: Three people were killed after another earthquake struck the border region of Turkiye and Syria on Monday, just two weeks after the area was devastated by a larger quake which killed more than 47,000 people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes.

Monday’s quake, this time with a magnitude of 6.4, was centred near the southern Turkish city of Antakya and was felt in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.

It struck at a depth of just two km, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said, potentially magnifying its impact at ground level. 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 quake hit the town of Defne at 8:04pm and was strongly felt by teams in Antakya and Adana, 200 kilometres to the north.

A journalist reported scenes of panic, adding that the new tremors raised clouds of dust in the devastated town.

So far 6,000 aftershocks have been recorded since Feb 6 disaster

The walls of badly damaged buildings crumbled while several people, apparently injured, called for help.The death toll from the quakes two weeks ago rose to 41,156 in Turkiye, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority AFAD said on Monday, and it was expected to climb further, with 385,000 apartments known to have been destroyed or seriously damaged and many people still missing.

According to AFAD, more than 6,000 aftershocks have been recorded since the 7.8-magnitude quake hit Turkiye and Syria.

In Syria, already shattered by more than a decade of civil war, most deaths have been in the northwest, where the United Nations said 4,525 people were killed. The area is controlled by insurgents at war with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, complicating aid efforts.

Syrian officials say 1,414 people were killed in areas under the control of Assad’s government.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said a convoy of 14 of its trucks had entered northwestern Syria from Turkiye on Sunday to assist in rescue operations.

The World Food Programme has also been pressuring authorities in that region to stop blocking access for aid from Syrian government-controlled areas.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2023

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