Reports reaching the desk of Africa Today News, New York has it that more than 100 people were killed in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday. The earthquake destroyed numerous houses while people were still sleeping, and it also caused tremors that could be felt as far away as Egypt and the island of Cyprus.
The initial death toll in Turkey was 76, according to emergency service officials, but because the nighttime calamity had destroyed dozens of residential towers around major cities, the number threatened to rise significantly higher.
According to state media and a nearby hospital, at least 50 people also perished in Syria’s government- and pro-Turkish factions-held northern regions.
The quake struck at 04:17 am local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometres (11 miles), the US Geological Survey said, with a 6.7-magnitude aftershock striking 15 minutes later.
Turkey’s AFAD emergencies service centre put the first quake’s magnitude at 7.4, adding that it was followed by dozens of aftershocks.
Read Also: 5 Killed As Horrible Earthquake Hits Southern Iran
The earthquake was one of the most powerful to hit the region in at least a century, affecting southeastern parts of Turkey that are home to millions of refugees from Syria and other war-torn regions.
‘There are many damaged buildings,’ AFAD chief Orhan Tatar said in nationally televised remarks. ‘People should avoid buildings.’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will be under pressure to oversee an effective response to the disaster heading to a tightly-contested May 14 election, conveyed his sympathies and urged national unity.
‘We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,’ the Turkish leader tweeted.
Africa Today News, New York reports that the earthquake levelled dozens of buildings across major cities of southern Turkey as well as neighbouring Syria, a country gripped by more than a decade of violence that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions of people.
Images on Turkish television and social media showed rescuers digging through the rubble of levelled buildings in the city of Kahramanmaras and neighbouring Gaziantep.
A fire lit up the night sky in one image from Kahramanmaras, although its origin remained unclear.