According to Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister of Turkey, three people were killed and 213 were hurt in the new magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey on February 20, 2023.
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Five individuals were reportedly trapped in three collapsed buildings, where search and rescue operations were in progress.
Parts of Turkey and Syria that were devastated by a huge earthquake two weeks prior, which claimed around 45,000 lives, were hit by the latest earthquake. However, there were no early reports of fatalities. According to officials, more buildings fell, trapping residents, and several individuals were hurt in both countries.
The village of Defne, in Turkey’s Hatay province, was the epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on February 6 and was one of the hardest-hit areas. It was followed by a second, magnitude 5.8 temblor, which was felt as far away as Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Cyprus.
The fresh earthquake caused a number of buildings to collapse, trapping people inside, according to Hatay’s mayor Lutfu Savas. He said on NTV that these might be folks who had gone back to their homes or were attempting to remove their furniture from destroyed structures.
There were no fatalities that were immediately reported. At least eight individuals were hospitalized in Turkiye, according to vice president of Turkey Fuat Oktay. SANA, Syria’s official news agency, said that falling debris in Aleppo caused six injuries.
According to HaberTurk television, police search teams in Hatay managed to free one individual who was trapped within a three-story structure while also attempting to reach three other occupants.
Around 45,000 people were killed in both nations by the earthquake on February 6; the majority of them were in Turkiye, where more than a million and a half people are currently staying in temporary shelters. More than 6,000 aftershocks have subsequently been reported by Turkish officials.
Journalists for HaberTurk reported they were badly shaken by Monday’s earthquake and held on to each other to prevent collapsing.
According to eyewitness Alejandro Malaver, individuals in the Turkish city of Adana left their homes for the streets while bringing blankets into their automobiles. Malaver claimed that “no one wants to enter back into their residences” and that “everyone is genuinely terrified.”
Several people were hurt in the northwest of the country, which is controlled by rebels, after they jumped from buildings or when they were hit by falling debris in the town of Jinderis, one of the areas most severely impacted by the earthquake on February 6. This information was provided by the Syrian opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.
According to the White Helmets, multiple damaged and abandoned houses collapsed in northwest Syria without anyone being hurt.
A 7-year-old kid was among the patients treated by the Syrian American Medical Society, which maintains hospitals in northern Syria, for heart attacks brought on by panic after the recent earthquake.
Oktay announced that Hatay was undergoing damage surveys and encouraged residents to remain away from damaged structures and pay close attention to the instructions given by rescue crews.
Putin travels to Hatay
Prior to his visit to Hatay on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his administration will start building over 200,000 new homes in the area that had been ravaged by the earthquake as early as next month.
According to Mr. Erdogan, the new structures won’t rise higher than three or four stories, and will be constructed to higher standards and on more stable land after consulting “geophysics, geotechnical, geology, and seismology academics” and other specialists.
The Turkish president declared that reconstructed cultural landmarks would maintain their “historic and cultural texture.” According to Erdogan, there are approximately 1.6 million people living in temporary shelters.