Powerful 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southern Turkey; Toll Crosses 1200

Istanbul: The death toll in the powerful earthquake, which shook southern Turkey near the Syrian border, levelling buildings across several cities early on Monday, has crossed 1,200 with several hundred people injured, The Guardian reported.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake was located near the cities of Nurdağı and Gaziantep. The aftershocks were also felt in Syria and as far as Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq and Egypt.

At least 20 aftershocks followed, some hours later during daylight, the strongest measuring 6.6, Turkish authorities said.

NTV television said buildings crumbled in the cities of Adiyaman, Malatya and Diyarbakir. A building near Latakia, on the west coast of Syria, also collapsed, according to Syrian state television.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency said 912 people were killed and 5,383 injured in seven Turkish provinces. Syria’s state news agency confirmed 320 deaths in the country, with over 1,000 wounded.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said search and rescue teams had immediately been dispatched to the affected areas. “We hope to get through this together as soon as possible and with the least damage, and we continue our work,” he was quoted as saying.

In 1999, 18,000 people were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey.

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