A magnitude 7.8 earthquake leaves more than 4,000 dead in Turkey and Syria– Monday’s earthquake toppled buildings in parts of Turkey and Syria, killing more than 4,300 people and injuring thousands.
Big picture: Authorities warned that the death toll could rise, after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck northern Gaziantep in Turkey, near the Syrian border, at 4:17 a.m. m. local time (1:17 GMT). Many are reported to be trapped under destroyed buildings. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Tremors were felt in Cyprus, Lebanon, and Egypt.
According to the USGS, a second magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the same area on Monday afternoon. Several powerful aftershocks were also felt.
According to the figures: At least 2,921 people were killed and nearly 16,000 more injured in Turkey’s 10 provinces after the quake, while more than 7,800 were rescued, AP reports.
Syrian state media said at least 711 people were killed and more than 1,431 injured in government-controlled areas.
The Syrian Civil Defense, relief workers also known as the White Helmets, said at least 700 people had been killed in opposition-held areas and more than 2,000 injured, the highest death toll from an earthquake in the country. The number had increased to more than 1,400.
Note: Gaziantep and its surrounding areas are home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have been displaced by almost 12 years of war.
The tremors were reported to have been particularly devastating in opposition-held areas of northwestern Syria, where millions of people displaced by the war live in densely populated cities.
Muhib Kaddour, a doctor in Atmeh, told the AP that authorities initially confirmed 11 deaths in the opposition-controlled Syrian city, but many more were buried under rubble. “We fear the death toll is in the hundreds,” Kaddour said.
Zoom out: The earthquake revealed a “crisis within many crises” for a population already suffering from almost 12 years of war, humanitarian groups warn, reports Axios’ Lauryn-Whitney Gottbrath.
What they’re saying: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted that the effects were “felt in many parts of our country” and that search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched to quake-hit areas.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in an emailed statement that the US was “deeply concerned” by reports of the devastating earthquake and stood “ready to provide all assistance.”
“President Biden directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess US response options to help those most affected,” he added.
Biden said in a statement Monday that senior US officials had reached out to their Turkish counterparts to coordinate US aid and that US-backed humanitarian allies were doing the same in Syria.
“Today, our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to all those who have lost precious loved ones, been injured, and had their homes and businesses destroyed,” Biden said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday to express his condolences.
Blinked confirmed that an “initial relief response” from the US was “already underway” and vowed to do “everything we can in coordination” with the Turkish government to help earthquake victims. according to the reading.
In pictures: Turkey and Syria respond to a devastating earthquake