Rescue and Search Efforts
Rescue workers and residents worked tirelessly to search for survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings across multiple cities in both countries. People in one city were seen pulling away concrete and metal, shouting to others still trapped in a partially toppled apartment building.
Quake Epicenter and Affected Areas
The earthquake, felt as far as Cairo, was centered north of Gaziantep, located about 60 miles from the Syrian border. In Syria, the quake hit opposition-held regions where 4 million displaced Syrians live in subpar conditions. The affected area is home to millions of Syrian refugees and several large cities in Turkey.
Response from Authorities
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that search and rescue teams had been dispatched to the affected areas. There have been at least six aftershocks, and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu urged people not to enter damaged buildings for safety reasons. The priority is to rescue those trapped and transfer them to hospitals.
Death Toll and Injuries
The death toll in Turkey has risen to at least 76, with 440 people injured. The death toll in Syria has climbed to 99 in government-held areas, with 334 injured. Buildings have also collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama.
Snowstorms in the Middle East
The earthquake occurred during a snowstorm expected to continue until Thursday in the Middle East. Turkey is located on top of major fault lines and is often hit by earthquakes. In 1999, 18,000 people were killed in two powerful earthquakes in northwestern Turkey.