The death toll surpassed 2,800 and was rising Monday after a powerful, pre-dawn earthquake and series of strong aftershocks collapsed thousands of buildings along the Turkish-Syrian border.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.8 quake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time in the southern Turkish province of Kahramanmaras, about 20 miles from the city of Gaziantep. Scores of aftershocks followed, authorities said. Hours later, a 7.5 magnitude quake struck more than 60 miles away.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at least 11,000 people are injured in his country alone and the death toll has climbed well over 1,600. He declared seven days of national mourning.
In Syria, the death toll in government-held areas surpassed 539, and 1,300 were injured, the Syrian Health Ministry reported. In rebel-held areas, more than 380 people were killed, according to Syrian Civil Defense – the White Helmets.
Hundreds were believed trapped under rubble, and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers dug through the wreckage. Thousands of survivors were left homeless in the cold rain and snow.
There were also stories of rescues as first responders and volunteers, some with detection dogs, picked through the rubble. The Turkish defense ministry released a video of a mother and her 2-year-old child being extricated safely from rubble in the city of Gaziantep.
“Hurry up please because my daughter is passing out,” the woman says as rescuers work feverishly to save them. The young girl is rescued first, and responders assure the woman that “your child has been rescued, she is alive.” A few minutes later the woman is brought to safety.
►British Premier League soccer team Newcastle United FC tweeted that it was “praying for some positive news” on the fate of former teammate Christian Atsu, who is reportedly among those trapped under the rubble in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras. Atsu, a Ghana native, signed with the Turkish team Hatayspor.
►Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country “stands ready to send a large group of rescue workers to Turkey to assist crisis response.”
►Erdogan called the quake the country’s biggest disaster since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake that killed more than 30,000 people. The region sits on top of major fault lines and about 18,000 were killed in earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey in 1999.
►Russia says it is readying rescue teams to fly to Turkey to help victims there and in neighboring Syria.
Per: USA Today
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