At least 76 people have been reported killed and 440 others injured, after a powerful 7.4 earthquake struck Türkiye’s southern provinces, officials said.
Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said that the 7.4 magnitude quake struck at 4:17 am (0117 GMT) and was centred in Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras Province on Monday.
The quake occurred at a depth of 7 kilometres (4.3 miles). It was followed by magnitude 6.4 and 6.5 quakes that struck southeastern Gaziantep province.
In the Turkish province of Malatya, at least 23 people were confirmed dead and 420 others injured, its governor said. The quake also destroyed 140 buildings in the province.
Meanwhile, in the Turkish province of Sanliurfa, at least 15 people were killed and 30 people were injured while at least five people were killed in Osmaniye province.
Diyarbakir province reported at least 6 deaths and 79 injured.
The initial quake was also felt in neighbouring countries of Lebanon and Syria.
At least 111 deaths were also reported in Syria, according to state media citing the health ministry. More than 300 people were also reported injured.
Syria’s state media reported that some buildings collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama.
In Damascus, buildings shook and many people went down to the streets in fear, according to the Associated Press news agency.
There is no information yet on casualties in Lebanon. But the quake jolted residents from their beds, shaking buildings for about 40 seconds. Many residents of Beirut left their homes and took to the streets or drove in their cars away from buildings.
AFAD ‘on alert’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to Twitter to convey get well wishes to citizens affected by the initial earthquake.
He added that AFAD and other units are “on alert.”
He noted that rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the province affected by the earthquake.
“Our Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health, AFAD, provincial governorships and all other institutions started their work rapidly.”
“We are also coordinating our work after the earthquake. We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage and we will continue our work.”
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu also said that six aftershocks with magnitudes above 6.0 were also recorded on Monday.
The earthquake came as the Middle East is experiencing a snowstorm that is expected to continue until Thursday.
Türkiye sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes.
In November, a 5.9 earthquake struck Türkiye’s northwestern Duzce province, leaving scores of people injured. The quake was also felt in the country’s largest city of Istanbul.
A magnitude-6.8 quake hit Elazig in January 2020, killing more than 40 people.
In 1999, some 18,000 were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Türkiye.
This is a developing story and will be updated.