Another earthquake strikes Turkey-Syria border region as more killed

The 6.4-magnitude quake was felt in Egypt and Lebanon

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A 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck the Turkey-Syria border region, killing six people and injuring 213, the Turkish disaster response agency AFAD said.

It said the earthquake, at a depth of 7.7km, was centred on the town of Defne, in Hatay province.

The earthquake was followed by 90 aftershocks, AFAD said.

It comes after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks that hit Turkey two weeks ago, killing nearly 45,000 people in southern Turkey and north-west Syria.

Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since.

Sergen Ant, who lives in the nearby city of Adana in southern Turkey, told The National that locals were terrified by the new earthquake.

“I want to say that I am OK but psychologically we are not OK,” said Mr Ant, who has been volunteering to help those affected by the earthquakes for the past two weeks with the local branch of the Rotary Club.

“We had started to normalise but everyone is so terrified right now.”

In north-west Syria, the White Helmets rescue organisation said “walls and balconies of houses collapsed in several areas”.

“Several civilians injured from falling building debris, stampedes, and jumping from high areas. Additionally, in Jindires, north of Aleppo two uninhabited buildings and the minaret of a mosque collapsed,” it added.

Monday night's earthquake is believed to have originated close to Antakya, the Turkish city that was levelled after the quake two weeks ago. It was also felt in Syria, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon.

The disaster management agency said on Twitter that another 5.8-magnitude tremor followed three minutes later and its epicentre was Samandag district in Hatay.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Hatay earlier on Monday, and said his government would begin constructing close to 200,000 new homes in the quake-devastated region as early as next month.

Turkey-Syria border region struck by new 6.4-magnitude quake

Turkey-Syria border region struck by new 6.4-magnitude quake
Turkey-Syria border region struck by new 6.4-magnitude quake

Mr Erdogan said the new buildings would be no taller than three or four stories, built on firmer ground and to higher standards and in consultation with “geophysics, geotechnical, geology and seismology professors” and other experts.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay used Twitter to urge people to stay away from damaged buildings and to follow officials' warnings.

Abdelmueen, a twice-displaced Syrian from Hama, managed to flee his home as the latest earthquake hit.

He is currently hosting four families after they became homeless on February 6.

“We’re on the street — it’s a strong one. There’s material damage so far. I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he told The National.

A relative of Abdelmueen, Umm Malik, lost her son Malik, 12, in the previous earthquake.

“She now is outside the building refusing to come back in out of fear. She had her remaining children wrapped in blankets. Her husband is crying …”

The tremor has sparked fears of yet more deaths and caused more trauma to those who lived through the first earthquake.

The Syrian American Medical Association said a boy aged seven arrived at one of their facilities in north-western Syria after the tremor.

His heart had stopped “due to fear”, one SAMS official said.

The boy was resuscitated and transferred to another facility for further treatment.

In Beirut, some residents rushed out on to the street after the latest tremor.

“Oh my god, the bottles are shaking,” said one shopkeeper as his produce vibrated on the shelves.

Updated: February 21, 2023, 12:20 PM