Earthquake death toll in Turkey and Syria surpasses 5,000

The death toll surged to more than 5,000 early Tuesday after a powerful, pre-dawn earthquake Monday and series of strong aftershocks collapsed thousands of buildings along the Turkish-Syrian border.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.8 quake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time in the southern Turkish province of Kahramanmaras, about 20 miles from the city of Gaziantep. Scores of aftershocks followed, authorities said. Hours later, a 7.5 magnitude quake struck more than 60 miles away.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said the total number of deaths in Turkey had risen to 3,419, with another 20,534 people injured. That brought the number of people killed to 5,102, with another 1,602 people confirmed dead on the Syrian side of the border. In the country’s rebel-held northwest, groups that operate there said at least 450 people died, with many hundreds injured. The region was already battered by 12 years of the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis it has created.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at least 11,000 people are injured and he declared seven days of national mourning. Later in the day, he spoke with President Joe Biden, who pledged U.S. assistance. The White House said that included sending two urban search and rescue teams. 

USA Today

People look amid rubble as the search for survivors continues following an earthquake in Hatay, Turkey, February 7, 2023. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

From Reuters

USA TODAY and Reuters and CNN