A devastating earthquake was felt in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel on Monday, leaving more than 3,400 people dead in Syria and Turkey. According to the latest reports, the number of victims could go as high as 10,000.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit at 4:17 a.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey, and was followed by strong aftershocks. The initial earthquake was the deadliest to hit Turkey in more than 20 years. It was as strong as the tremor of 1939, the most powerful quake recorded in the country. Almost 3,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey alone, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
The epicenter of the initial earthquake was near the city of Gaziantep in south central Turkey. Some survivors there fled their homes in the rain and took shelter in cars as the temperature hovered near freezing. Many of the wounded were taken to local hospitals.
Here are the latest developments:
Mr. Erdogan said 912 people had been killed across Turkey, and that search and rescue teams had been dispatched to the areas affected. More than 5,000 people had been injured and almost 2,500 people had been rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings, he added. “We do not know where the number of dead and injured can go,” Erdogan said.
In government-held areas of Syria, at least 326 people were killed, with more than 1,040 injured, according to the country’s health ministry. In northwest Syria, which is under the control of Turkish-backed opposition, more than 150 people were dead, according to the White Helmets civil defense group.
Governments around the world were quick to respond to Turkey’s request for international assistance, deploying rescue teams and offers of aid.
The city of Gaziantep hosts many of the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey and is the site of one of the largest operations run by the United Nations refugee agency.
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