All news

Major earthquake kills more than 1,400 in Turkey, Syria

The rescue operation in the affected Turkish areas is hampered by cold weather and precipitation, including snowfalls

ANKARA, February 6. /TASS/. A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras on Monday, killing more than 1,000 people in Turkey and more than 400 in Syria.

According to Turkish seismologists, it could be one of the most devastating quakes on record in the region. Many countries including Russia have offered help to Ankara and Damascus with disaster relief efforts. Russia is ready to send two planes with rescuers to Turkey.

The rescue operation in the affected Turkish areas is hampered by cold weather and precipitation, including snowfalls.

TASS has put together the key facts about the aftermath of the earthquake.

What happened

- A first quake, of 7.7 magnitude, occurred in the Pazarcik district of the Kahramanmaras province at the depth of 7 kilometers at 4:17 am local time. Further tremors were felt for a half hour afterward in various areas including Ankara, which sits 600 kilometers from the epicenter, and other countries.

- More than 100 aftershocks were recorded during the day.

Casualties and damage

- According to the latest data, at least 1,014 people were killed and over 5,300 suffered injuries in southeastern Turkey. The quake’s death toll in Syria has reached 403, while the number of injuries has surpassed 600. There have been no confirmed reports of casualties and damage from areas not controlled by Damascus. According to the Al Arabiya television channel, at least 220 lives were lost in the country’s northern areas, while more than 400 people were injured.

- Damage has been recorded in several Turkish provinces, including Adana, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kahramanmaras, Malatya and Sanliurfa. More than 2,800 buildings were toppled, including multi-story residential buildings, office buildings and hospitals.

- The governor of the Kahramanmaras province reported major damage, adding that it was currently impossible to determine the total number of casualties.

- The Al-Hadath TV channel said that dozens of people remained trapped under the rubble in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia and Hama. Gale-force winds and a downpour are hampering the relief efforts. Railway service was suspended in the country’s north.

- No damage to the unfinished Akkuyu nuclear power plant has been reported.

Russian tourists

- There are no Russian tourists staying in the earthquake-hit area as part of package tours, said Maya Lomidze, executive director at the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. The accident took place far away from the vacation areas, she said. A total of as many as 45,000 Russian vacationers, both on package tours and independent travelers, may be in Turkey at the moment, the association said. Tour operators have not registered any cancellations of Turkey-bound trips, according to the group.

Other countries

- Tremors were felt across Israel on Monday, but there have been no reports of casualties or damage. In Tel Aviv, people on top floors of some high-rise buildings said they could feel the tremors.

- Tremors also hit Baghdad as the city was hosting a delegation led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. They lasted a few minutes, shaking walls of buildings. No casualties or damage was reported in the country.

- People in the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicosia, felt walls and floors vibrating, saw chandeliers sway, furniture move and heard kitchenware clatter.

- The National Center for Geophysics in Bhannes reported ground shaking across Lebanon, including the country’s capital. Again, no casualties or damage was reported.

- A second Turkish quake was felt in Georgia’s city of Batumi.

- Minor tremors have been registered in Russian parts of the Caucasus every seven minutes after the earthquake hit Turkey.

International response

- Turkey declared the maximum level 4 alarm due to the disaster. That level calls for international assistance in dealing with the quake’s aftermath. Rescue teams have been dispatched to southeastern Turkey from other regions of the country to pull people from the rubble.

- Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences over the deadly earthquake to his Turkish and Syrian counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad. He said Moscow is ready to provide assistance to Ankara and Damascus in dealing with disaster relief efforts. Russia is prepared to send two planes with rescuers to Turkey.

- Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the UK, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Egypt, Israel, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Serbia, USA, Uzbekistan, France, Czech Republic and Japan expressed their readiness to help.

- Assistance to Turkey and Syria was also offered by the European Union and NATO.

- American businessman Elon Musk said he could send Starlink terminals to Turkey, if necessary, but Turkey turned down the offer.

- Muscovites are carrying flowers to the Turkish embassy to express their condolences over the deadly earthquake.

Assessment by analysts

- Turkish seismologists are already likening the quake to the one that rocked the country in 1999. The magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck near the city of Izmit back then killed nearly 17,500 people and proved to be the most devastating to ever impact the country.

Kazakhstan’s quake

- A 5.4 magnitude earthquake shook southern Kazakhstan on Monday, the country’s Emergency Situations Ministry said. The tremor occurred at 7:02 pm, with the epicenter 5 kilometers deep and 628 kilometers west of Almaty, the country’s capital.