Turkey map shows areas hit by major earthquakes as death toll surpasses 5,000
Another earthquake rocked Turkey Tuesday morning after two devastating tremors the day before killed thousands of people.
It hit north of the city of Adiyama around 11:30 a.m., just over 24 hours after a magnitude 7.8 quake devastated the worst earthquake in more than 20 years.
Dozens of smaller aftershocks followed the initial tremor, with the combined death toll in Turkey and neighboring Syria exceeding 5,000.
Turkish authorities say around 13.5 million people have been affected in an area stretching about 280 miles from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east and 180 miles from Malatya in the north to Hatay in the south.
Syrian authorities have reported deaths as far away as Hama, about 60 miles from the epicenter.
In several Turkish and Syrian cities, thousands of buildings collapsed, hospitals and schools were destroyed and tens of thousands of people were injured or made homeless.
The region lies on major fault lines and is frequently rocked by earthquakes. About 18,000 people died in 1999 in similarly powerful earthquakes in north-west Turkey.
Overwhelmed rescuers struggled to rescue those trapped under the rubble on Tuesday, with growing desperation and the scale of the disaster hampering relief efforts.
Aid workers expressed particular concern about the situation in Syria, which was already plagued by a humanitarian crisis after nearly 12 years of civil war.
The affected area in Syria is divided into government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Turkey is home to millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has declared disaster areas in ten provinces and declared a state of emergency in the region for three months.
Salvage operations are underway on one of dozens of piles of rubble in the Turkish city of Antakya near the Syrian border, where 10-story buildings crumbled onto the street.
The temperature was near freezing when it rained and the city had no electricity or fuel. Families slept in cars lined up on the streets after their homes were destroyed.
A woman named Ayla, who was standing next to a pile of rubble where an eight-story building once stood, said she went to Hatay on Monday in search of her mother.
“There were no survivors yet,” she said. “A street dog came and barked for a long time at a certain spot, I was afraid it was because of my mother. But it was someone else. I turned on the car light to help. The rescue team has only recovered two bodies so far, no survivors.”
In Kahramanmaras, north of Antakya, families gathered around fires and wrapped themselves in blankets to keep warm.
“We barely made it out of the house,” said Neset Guler, snuggled up to his four children. “Our situation is catastrophic. We’re hungry, we’re thirsty. It’s miserable.”
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) Presidency said nearly 8,000 people were rescued from 4,758 destroyed buildings on Monday
Around 13,700 search and rescue workers were deployed and more than 41,000 tents, 100,000 beds and 300,000 blankets were sent to the region.