2,921 killed, 15,834 injured by powerful quakes in southern Türkiye

At least 2,921 people were killed and 15,834 others injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye due to two strong earthquakes that jolted the southern part of the country, an official from the nation’s disaster agency said early Tuesday.

Early Monday morning, a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras province and strongly shook several other provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis.

Then at 13.24 p.m. (1024GMT), a 7.6 magnitude quake centered in Kahramanmaras’s Elbistan district struck the region.

Yunus Sezer, head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), said the quakes were followed by 243 aftershocks and 6,217 buildings collapsed.

Around 16,400 search and rescue personnel are working in the region, Sezer said, adding that 65 countries have offered help so far.

Türkiye’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said that 338,000 earthquake victims have been housed in dormitories, universities and shelters.

Orhan Tatar, risk reduction general manager of AFAD, said earlier in the day that 250 million Turkish liras (about $13.3 million) in emergency funds had been sent to the provinces in the disaster area so far.

'Biggest disaster' since 1939 Erzincan earthquake

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that with the quake, Türkiye was shaken by the "biggest disaster" since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake.

"Our state has taken action with all its institutions since the earthquake. All resources have been mobilized," he said at the AFAD office in the capital Ankara, where he was coordinating the rescue and relief work.

Erdogan also called on the nation to be of "one heart," saying: "I hope we will leave these disastrous days behind in unity and solidarity as a country and nation."

The president spoke to the mayors of Adana, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis on the phone and learned about search and rescue efforts, according to the presidency.

Türkiye will observe seven days of national mourning after the deadly earthquakes.

"Due to the earthquakes that took place in our country on Feb. 6, a national mourning period was declared for seven days. Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, Feb. 12, all over our country and in our foreign representations," Erdogan said on Twitter.

The earthquake was also felt in several neighboring countries in the region, including Lebanon and Syria.

After the earthquakes, condolences poured in from around the world expressing solidarity with Türkiye.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt