Two weeks after the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the disaster area was again hit by a powerful earthquake. The quake measured 6.4 and was followed by a 5.8 aftershock.
According to the Turkish interior minister, three people have been killed and 213 injured so far. The Syrian news agency SANA reports that at least six people are injured in Aleppo. The Syrian White Helmets speak of at least 140 wounded in the opposition area.
The epicenter of the new earthquakes was near the town of Defne, 14 kilometers southwest of Antakya, and thus further south than the earthquakes two weeks ago.
Buildings have collapsed again in the previously affected province of Hatay and, according to local authorities, people have again fallen under the rubble. These included people who had recently returned to their homes and residents trying to retrieve belongings from their damaged homes.
In the affected area in Turkey, rescue teams are trying to pull victims out from under three collapsed buildings. The Turkish disaster relief authority calls on people not to enter the damaged buildings.
Eyewitnesses in Syria tell NOS that buildings have collapsed in the northwest of the country. When the quakes started, people in the city of Idlib are said to have jumped out of windows in fear. The internet has gone down in and around the town of Jindires in northern Syria.
These are the first images of the earthquake:
The latest earthquake caused a lot of panic and confusion, says a TRT reporter who wanted to report live in Kahramanmaras just at the time of the quake.
That confusion is also because there have been thousands of aftershocks since the previous quakes. “You feel quite a lot of aftershocks here, but obviously not on the scale we’re seeing now.” The reporter says he saw people running out in panic.
VPRO presenter Bram Vermeulen could feel the tremors in Adana. “My hotel started to shake violently for twenty seconds,” says Vermeulen. “People ran out in panic and started screaming. The stress of the past two weeks is still in everyone’s body.”
According to Vermeulen, the number of casualties seems to be not too bad: “This is because people have been living on the streets or in tent camps since the earlier quakes, and not in the buildings that have already been heavily damaged.”
NRC journalist Toon Beemsterboer was also in Adana at the time of the quake, he told NPO Radio 1. “The shaking lasted quite a long time and the kitchen cabinets opened and closed,” he says. After the quake, he ran into the street with his in-laws. “The whole city is basically on the street now.”
President Erdogan was visiting the affected province today, but it is not clear whether he was still there at the time of the earthquake. He promised today that some 200,000 new homes will be built in Hatay and that the new buildings will not exceed four floors.
The strong earthquakes two weeks ago killed more than 45,000 people. The death toll continues to rise as many of the victims are still buried under the rubble. About 1.6 million people in Turkey are temporarily sheltered in tent camps as a result of the previous quakes.
The Dutch rescue team USAR says in a response that it cannot be deployed for the time being because a lot of equipment is still on its way to the Netherlands. The team returned from Turkey four days ago.
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