Türkiye mobilizes after earthquakes kill over 900-Xinhua

Türkiye mobilizes after earthquakes kill over 900

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-02-06 19:47:30

ANKARA/ISTANBUL, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Aid poured out from Türkiye's major cities on Monday after a magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck the country's southern province of Kahramanmaras and left hundreds dead and thousands injured.

Some 912 people were killed, over 5,385 others injured and 2,818 buildings destroyed after two strong earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye early Monday, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The first earthquake, which Türkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management authority (AFAD) initially measured as 7.4-magnitude, occurred 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. Damage was reported in at least 10 provinces in southern and southeastern Türkiye.

A total of 2,470 people have been rescued from the rubble, Erdogan told a press conference held before the third quake.

Türkiye's state-owned energy company BOTAS has suspended natural gas flow to southern provinces of Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras. The airport in Hatay is damaged and flights are halted.

There were power outages in provinces of Antep, Hatay and Kilis, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said.

Broadcaster NTV showed people trying to leave the quake-hit areas, causing traffic jams and hampering emergency efforts.

The air temperatures recorded minus 10 degrees Celsius in most of the 10 provinces that were affected by the quake, with rains and snowfall, according to Türkiye's meteorology agency.

Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Türkiye's largest city Istanbul, said on social media that over 1,000 personnel, including healthcare workers, four search and rescue dogs and 30 tonnes of aid materials had been dispatched to the region, adding 19 ambulances also departed from Istanbul.

Some 703 police officers and 376 gendarmes have also been dispatched from Istanbul for search and rescue missions.

Meanwhile, the city hall has dispatched its resources. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu told local media that 311 search-and-rescue personnel, 20 construction vehicles and two trucks that can produce thousands of meals daily are heading to the affected areas.

Imamoglu said 26 specialized containers to meet the survivors' lavatory needs as well as sleeping bags and blankets were also ready to go. Türkiye's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, the department responsible for coordinating disaster relief, has dispatched Istanbul municipality's aid to the southern city of Hatay.

Tunc Soyer, mayor of the western city of Izmir, also announced that the municipality's search and rescue teams, comprised of seven vehicles and 41 personnel, have been dispatched to the southeastern province of Osmaniye.

Many provinces near the disaster area have also sent medical teams and ambulances.

The country's defense ministry has put the Turkish Armed Forces Humanitarian Aid Brigade and transport planes on standby. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the chief of general staff and the chief of land forces are all heading to the affected areas.

"We dispatched all our search and rescue teams to earthquake zones. We set the highest alert," Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.

Soylu also called out for international assistance. "We've set up a fourth-level alert. This is an alarm that includes international assistance," he said.