Three powerful earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, causing massive damage to infrastructure and killing over 3,800 people. The 7.8 magnitude quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks that destroyed entire sections of major Turkish cities in the region, which was home to millions of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war and other conflicts.
The only runway at the airport in Turkey’s Hatay province has also been shattered and rendered completely inoperable. On social media, a video of the completely destroyed runway was shared. The tarmac was split in two, forcing all flights to be canceled.
The earthquake on Monday was Turkey’s worst disaster in decades, according to the country’s president. The first quake, according to seismologists, was one of the largest ever recorded in the country. According to the BBC, a second earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 was triggered 12 hours later, with its epicenter in the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province.
According to a Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority official, it was “not an aftershock” and was “independent” of the previous quake.
Thousands of buildings have collapsed, and several videos capture the moment they do as onlookers flee for safety. Gaziantep Castle, a historical landmark that had stood for over 2,000 years, was among the buildings destroyed. Turkey’s energy infrastructure has also been damaged, and videos of large fires in southern Turkey have surfaced.
Within the first 10 hours of the initial disaster, officials recorded more than 50 aftershocks. They have warned that more will follow for several days.
People are sharing videos of aftershocks:
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a global response to the crisis. The European Union is sending search and rescue teams to Turkey, according to the BBC, and rescuers from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way. The United Kingdom has stated that it will send 76 specialists, as well as equipment and rescue dogs. France, Germany, Israel, and the United States have all pledged assistance. Russia and Iran have both offered assistance to Turkey and Syria.
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