Early on Monday, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria. News agencies reported hundreds of deaths in the two countries and thousands of injuries. At least 568 people have died, according to AP. According to Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, there have been 284 deaths in Turkey. Over 2,300 people were injured and 1,700 buildings collapsed in 10 provinces.
“Unfortunately, we are also facing extremely severe weather conditions. We are trying to reach the region as quickly as possible despite the weather conditions,” Oktay said. The death toll from Monday’s earthquake in Syria’s government-held areas has risen to 237, with 639 injured.
The Middle East has never seen an earthquake like this. It was the strongest earthquake in Turkey since 1939, when a powerful tremor killed about 33,000 people in the eastern city of Erzincan. This is according to Okan Tuysuz, a professor of geology at Istanbul Technical University.
A powerful earthquake hit Gaziantep, Turkey before dawn. It was felt in Egypt and Cyprus. Around 13 million people are bracing for cold winter temperatures in several Turkish provinces affected by the disaster. “The Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced a fourth-level alert in Ankara, involving international help.