Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

A shallow magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the Turkey-Syria border region after it was devastated earlier this month by temblors that killed tens of thousands of people.

Monday’s aftershock in Turkey’s Hatay province was at a depth of 2km (1.2 miles), the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said.

The quake hit the town of Defne at 8:04pm (17:04 GMT) and was strongly felt in the cities of Antakya and Adana, 200km (300 miles) to the north.

A second magnitude 5.8 centred in Samandag district of Hatay shook the region several minutes later, Turkey’s disaster management agency said.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said the temblors were felt in Syria, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Hatay province is on the Mediterranean Sea and the disaster agency said the sea level could rise by 50cm (20 inches), warning people to stay away from the coast.

Syria’s state news agency, SANA, reported six people were injured in Aleppo from falling debris, while the mayor of Hatay said a number of buildings have collapsed, trapping people inside.

‘Very scared’

Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig, reporting from Gaziantep, said there were reports of more structures being destroyed in the region. He added there were many aftershocks that were continuing.

“There are buildings that are standing but have been damaged. The fear is if there are more aftershocks like this, it could bring down those buildings, threatening lives,” Baig said. “Many people here are very scared.”

Witnesses said Turkish rescue teams were running around after the latest quakes, checking if people were unharmed.

Muna al-Omar said she was in a tent in a park in central Antakya when Monday’s quakes hit.

“I thought the Earth was going to split open under my feet,” she said, crying as she held her 7-year-old son in her arms. “Is there going to be another aftershock?” she asked.

Magnitude 7.8 and 7.6 earthquakes struck Turkey’s southeast and neighbouring Syria on February 6, killing more than 47,000 people and leaving one million people homeless along with an economic cost expected to run into tens of billions of dollars.

Mehmet Kokum, an assistant professor of geology based in Elazig, Turkey, said there had been more than 5,000 aftershocks since February 6.

“This is quite expected. We know in our experience the aftershocks will last from months to years. But it’s going to decrease day by day,” he told Al Jazeera.

Syria hit again

Some media outlets in Syria’s Idlib and Aleppo regions badly affected earlier this month are reporting some buildings collapsed and electricity and internet services were interrupted in parts of the region.

The news organisations said many people fled their homes and were gathering in open areas.

The Syrian opposition’s Syrian Civil Defence, also known as White Helmets, issued an alert urging residents in the rebel-held northwest to follow guidelines released earlier regarding earthquakes and how to evacuate buildings.

The death toll from the quakes two weeks ago rose to 41,156 in Turkey, the disaster authority said on Monday, and it was expected to climb further.

An estimated 385,000 apartments were destroyed or seriously damaged and many people are still missing from the February 6 disaster.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said construction on nearly 200,000 apartments in 11 earthquake-hit provinces of Turkey would begin next month.


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By Joy

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