Major earthquake jolts Turkey, Syria; death toll reaches 195

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A major earthquake of magnitude 7.8 killed as many as 76 people in seven Turkish provinces on Monday and was felt in Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria, collapsing dozens of buildings and triggering a search for survivors under the rubble in snowy streets.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency said 440 people were injured.

Meanwhile, the death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed to 99, according to Syrian state media citing the Health Ministry.

In addition, at least 334 people were injured in Syria. Earlier, 20 people were reported killed in rebel-held areas of Syria. This raises the overall death toll to 195 in Turkey and Syria.

The quake, felt as far away as Cairo, was centred north of the city of Gaziantep about 90 kilometres (60 miles) from the Syrian border.

Along with several cities, the area is home to home to millions of Syrian refugees who fled their country’s long-running civil war.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake. “We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,” he wrote.

There were at least 6 aftershocks, and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu urged people not to enter damaged buildings due to the risks. “Our priority is to bring out people trapped under ruined buildings and to transfer them to hospitals,” he said.

Syria’s state media reported that some buildings collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama. In Damascus, buildings shook and many people went down to the streets in fear.

The quake jolted residents in Lebanon from their beds, shaking buildings for about 40 seconds.

Meanwhile, Syrian civil defence operating in rebel-held areas said on Monday that a powerful earthquake that struck Turkey and northern Syria had left “tens of victims and people stuck under rubble” of collapsed buildings in the country’s north-west, Reuters reported. (Express)

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