India and South Korea are among the first nations sending rescue personnel and supplies after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria.
More than 4,300 people have died and rescuers are racing to pull survivors from beneath the rubble after a devastating earthquake ripped through Turkey and Syria, leaving destruction and debris on each side of the border.
India said it would send 100 members of its Natural Disaster Response Force, specially trained dog squads and equipment to Turkey. Medical teams with trained doctors, paramedics and essential medicines are also ready, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. South Korea will dispatch a 60-person search and rescue team and also send medical supplies.
One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in a century shook residents from their beds at around 4 a.m. on Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel.
In Turkey, at least 2,921 people were killed and more than 15,800 others injured, according to Turkey’s head of disaster services, Yunus Sezer.
In neighboring Syria, at least 1,451 people have died. According to the Syrian state news agency SANA, 711 people have died across government-controlled areas, mostly in the regions of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus.
The “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, reported 740 deaths in opposition-controlled areas. Much of northwestern Syria, which borders Turkey, is controlled by anti-government forces amid a bloody civil war that began in 2011.
The epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude quake was 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi, in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.
A series of aftershocks have reverberated throughout the day. The largest, a major quake that measured 7.5 in magnitude, hit in Turkey about nine hours after the initial quake, according to the USGS. That aftershock hit around 95 kilometers (59 miles) north of the original.
Video from the scene in Turkey showed day breaking over rows of collapsed buildings, some with apartments exposed to the elements as people huddled in the freezing cold beside them, waiting for help.
A host of countries have sent rescue workers to help the stricken region, where a colossal effort to find and free trapped civilians is underway. A cold and wet weather system is moving through the region, further hampering that challenge.
Monday’s quake is believed to be the strongest to hit Turkey since 1939, when an earthquake of the same magnitude killed 30,000 people, according to the USGS. Earthquakes of this magnitude are rare, with fewer than five occurring each year on average, anywhere in the world. Seven quakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater have struck Turkey in the past 25 years – but Monday’s is the most powerful.
With several inches of snow on the ground, they waited outside in the rain for about 30 minutes before he could go back inside to grab coats and boots.
Strong aftershocks have been felt in southern and central Turkey. About 11 minutes after the main quake hit, an aftershock of 6.7 magnitude hit about 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of the main quake’s epicenter. Another intense aftershock with a magnitude of 5.6 then occurred 19 minutes after the main quake.
Meanwhile, the situation in Syria appears to be dire. More than 4 million people rely on humanitarian assistance in the region of northwest Syria where the deadly earthquake struck, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).