A strong earthquake has hit Turkey, two weeks after a devastating quake killed tens of thousands of people and left many homeless. The magnitude 6.4 tremor struck near the city of Antakya, near the border with Syria. Buildings weakened by the earlier quake collapsed, with people trapped under the rubble. Fortunately, the death toll has been relatively low this time because the earthquake hit an area that was mostly empty after being badly damaged by the earlier quake. However, at least 294 people have been injured, 18 of them seriously.
The earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, but none were as severe. Reports from Antakya describe fear and panic in the streets as ambulances and rescue crews rushed to reach the worst-affected areas. In one park, Muna al-Omar, who had been in a tent with her seven-year-old son, told Reuters news agency, “I thought the earth was going to split open under my feet.” Ali Mazlum, who was searching for the bodies of family members from the previous earthquake, said, “You don’t know what to do… we grabbed each other and right in front of us, the walls started to fall.”
During a visit to the southern province of Osmaniye, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan promised to hold those responsible for shoddy construction accountable for the deaths in the initial earthquake two weeks ago. Erdogan said, “It is our duty to hold the wrongdoers accountable before the law.”
Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency says the earthquake occurred at 8:04 p.m. local time at a depth of 10km. This was followed by a 5.8 aftershock three minutes later, and dozens of subsequent aftershocks. The earlier earthquake killed 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria, with tens of thousands more left homeless. The buildings weakened by those tremors collapsed in both countries on Monday. The health minister, Dr Fahrettin Koca, said that 294 people have been injured, 18 of them seriously.
The situation is still developing, and we will continue to bring you the latest updates as they become available.