DIRECT. 7.8 magnitude earthquake kills at least 180 in Turkey and Syria, according to initial reports

What there is to know

A violent earthquake, of magnitude 7.8, struck Syria and Turkey at dawn on Monday February 6th. At least 111 people have been killed in Syria, the Syrian Ministry of Health has announced. In Turkey, at least 76 people have lost their lives in seven different provinces, according to the latest report from the government disaster management agency (Afad). More than 600 people were injured in the two countries, the same sources said. Follow our live.

Building collapses. Buildings have been destroyed in many cities in the south-east of the country, according to images broadcast by the Turkish media, raising fears of a much heavier toll. Turkish rescuers and civil defense as well as Syrian firefighters were at work on Monday morning to try to extract possible victims from the rubble, according to local media.

The epicenter near Syria. The epicenter is located in the district of Pazarcik, in the south-east of Turkey, about 60 km as the crow flies from the Syrian border. According to the American seismological institute USGS, the earthquake took place at 2:17 a.m. this morning (4:17 a.m. local time) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers. The tremors, felt throughout the south-east of the country, were also seen in Lebanon and Cyprus, according to AFP correspondents. 50 aftershocks have been recorded in Turkey, according to the government’s disaster management agency.

Call for international help. “All our teams are on alert. We have issued a level four alarm. This is a call, including for international help”reacted the Turkish Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu on the Haberturk channel. “Our teams are on alert to rescue survivors”, also said the Syrian White Helmets, rescuers engaged in rebel areas in Syria, on Twitter. This earthquake is the largest in Turkey since the earthquake of August 17, 1999, which caused the death of 17,000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.

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