Two earthquakes – among the strongest in a century – struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria today, leveling entire regions, killing thousands of people and injuring tens of thousands.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country had suffered the "greatest disaster" since the 1939 earthquakes in Erzincan, when nearly 32.000 people were killed.
Here are the details of the tragedy so far:
When and where;
The first earthquake, with a magnitude of 7,8, occurred at 04:17 local time (03:17 Cyprus time).
The epicenter was in Pazarchik district, Kahramanmaras province (southeast), about 60 kilometers from the border with Syria, at a focal depth of about 17,9 kilometers.
Dozens of aftershocks followed, before a new strong earthquake of magnitude 7,5 at 12:24 Greek time, again in southeastern Turkey, 4 kilometers southeast of the city of Ikinozu.
The impact of the massive #earthquake in the streets of Gaziantep, southern Turkey.
Update- 1006 Killed & 5590 injured.#earthquake #Idlib # Syria #DEPREMOLDU #TurkeyEarthquake #Turkey pic.twitter.com/n4ejuCz28l
- Chaudhary Parvez (@ChaudharyParvez) -
Provisional casualty counts
More than 2.300 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured in Turkey and Syria, according to provisional estimates, with many people still trapped in the rubble of thousands of buildings.
In Turkey, the latest tally given at 16:30 Cyprus time by the country's Turkish disaster agency (AFAD) was 1.498 dead and at least 8.533 injured. According to the agency, 2.834 buildings have collapsed.
In Syria, the tally up to 16:20 Cyprus time, according to the Syrian Ministry of Health and the rescue teams in the rebel areas, spoke of 810 dead and at least 2.280 wounded.
Archaeological sites have been affected in Syria, namely the Aleppo citadel, an architectural jewel of the medieval era, and its old city, which in 2018 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger, after years of civil war.
In Turkey, Erdogan reported nearly 3.000 building collapses in seven different provinces – 2.834 according to AFAD.
In particular, cities such as Adana, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, but also Iskenderun (Alexandretta) and Antiyaman, where public hospitals have collapsed, have been affected.
More than 560 killed as 7.8-magnitude earthquake hits Turkey and Syria pic.twitter.com/F9H02wjIq5
—Russian Market (@runews) -
The international community quickly responded to a call for international aid from Turkey.
Despite the bilateral tensions, both Greece and Sweden pledged to send aid to Turkey.
Many countries such as the United Kingdom, India, Azerbaijan, have expressed their readiness to provide assistance.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had "approved" the aid mission to Syria, following a request from Damascus received through "diplomatic channels", as he said.