View of Hatay in Turkey. Author: Anadolu Agency
A terrifying earthquake Monday morning in southern Turkey and neighboring Syria, considered the worst in recent years, caused significant damage and loss of life as buildings and other infrastructure collapsed on both sides of the border. At press time, 2,361 deaths were reported (1,541 in Turkey and 820 in Syria) and rescuers are scouring the ruins of numerous villages and towns looking for possible survivors and deaths from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit the Turkish region of Turkey. seven kilometers deep, according to the Turkish Emergency and Disaster Management Authority, quoting RT.
Residents save the body of a girl in a building destroyed after a powerful earthquake in the city of Jandaris, Syria. Photo: Rami al-Sayed, AFP/Getty Images
After the first shock, which occurred at 4:17 am local time, tremors continue to occur, tremors were felt hundreds of kilometers away: in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. Turkey is located in one of the most seismically active regions of the planet. At least three of the subsequent aftershocks have exceeded 6.0, including a 7.5 that experts consider to be another quake.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking almost immediately, said that about 2,800 buildings were destroyed, and it was the worst earthquake in the country since 1939. Ten Turkish provinces were affected, including Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay. and Kilis. According to images circulating on the Internet, a gas pipeline ruptured in Kilis and fuel was ejected in large plumes of flame. The BOTAS pipeline operator said it shut off the flow, but the compressed gas in the pipeline continued to fuel the fires. For its part, the Syrian news agency SANA reported 430 dead and more than a thousand injured in Aleppo. , Hama, Latakia and Tartus; and 390 more people died in areas controlled by terrorist opposition militias. In addition, the refinery in the city of Baniyas, one of the largest in the country, had to be closed due to a crack in the chimney of its power unit, according to the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources.
Destruction in the town of Besnya. AFP photo
The Syrian government has approved a contingency plan administered by the central operations center to assist the victims of the earthquake that devastated the center and north of this Levantine nation today.
During the meeting, led by President Bashar al-Assad, a general assessment of the situation was given and the most affected places were identified, located mainly in the governorates of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, Prensa Latina said.
The Syrian Executive has ordered emergency medical assistance to be provided to all the wounded in the various governorates and the mobilization of all medical personnel in the Ministries of Health, Defense and Higher Education.
Civil defense works on the ruins of buildings in Hama, Syria. AP Photo
As a precautionary measure, the Syrian government ordered trains to stop and Turkish authorities closed Hatay Airport due to damage to the facility and suspended all civilian flights through Gaziantep International Airport due to the emergency. The ports of Ceyhan and Iskenderun were also reportedly closed. Reports also say that Gaziantep Castle, a hilltop fortress located in the center of the city of Gaziantep, was heavily damaged by the earthquake, Turkish media reported. The structure dates from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, although it has been repeatedly restored throughout history and is considered a symbol of the city.
In Syria, the Citadel of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic site of the old city, was also affected. Humam Saad, head of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums at the Ministry of Culture, told media that a team had been sent to the area to assess the extent of the damage.
More than 40 countries, including Cuba, Azerbaijan, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Great Britain, the United States, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Qatar and Kuwait, have offered assistance in response to the disaster. Russian rescue teams have already been sent to both Turkey and Syria to provide assistance in disaster areas.
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla sent their condolences to the peoples and governments of Syria and Turkey in connection with the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
“Cuban solidarity and our most sincere condolences to the Turkish people and government for the loss of life, injury and property damage caused by the massive earthquake, and our readiness to cooperate in helping the victims,” Diaz said. Diaz wrote on Twitter.
“Likewise, in light of the fatalities and damage caused by the Gaziantep earthquake, I express my condolences to the people and government of Syria, as well as our solidarity and willingness to cooperate in helping the victims,” the Cuban president said. another tweet.
Source: Juventud Rebelde