ANKARA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Search and rescue efforts are underway in southern and southeastern Türkiye after three powerful earthquakes struck the country within 10 hours on Monday, killing at least 1,498, injuring 8,533 and damaging 2,834 buildings, according to Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
A magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck Türkiye's southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time (0117 GMT). It was followed by a magnitude-6.4 quake a few minutes later in the country's southern province of Gaziantep and a magnitude-7.6 earthquake at 1:24 p.m. local time (1024 GMT) in Kahramanmaras Province.
Rescue teams from the Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD were dispatched to the earthquake zone, while the Turkish forces, search and rescue volunteers, and the rescue teams of several local administrations were also involved in the efforts.
A total of 9,698 search and rescue personnel and 216 vehicles were dispatched to the disaster-stricken regions, AFAD said.
The Turkish military also sent personnel from the provinces of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, with 18 aircraft, said a military statement, adding 500 commandos and 600 soldiers were dispatched to Malatya Province, while Gendarmerie General Command sent 200 soldiers to Adana Province.
The Turkish Defense Ministry has set up an air corridor to enable search and rescue teams to reach the quake-affected zone.
The search and rescue efforts are being hampered by a winter blizzard as the temperatures were recorded as minus 10 degrees Celsius in most of the 10 Turkish provinces that were affected by the quakes.
The weather service has forecast rain and sleet across southeastern Türkiye until Thursday.
NTV broadcaster showed rescue efforts in the snowy Kahramanmaras Province, where two children were pulled alive from under huge slabs of concrete debris.
People trying to leave the quake-hit areas, causing traffic jams and hampering emergency efforts, the NTV reported.
Türkiye issued a level-4 alarm after the earthquakes, which includes a call for international aid.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Türkiye received offers for help from some 45 countries in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
Monday's earthquake is believed to be the strongest in Türkiye since the magnitude-7.9 tremor in eastern Erzincan Province that killed 33,000 people in 1939. ■