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A Powerful 7.8 Earthquake Strikes Turkey

A tall apartment building in Turkey is missing it's middle section as a pile of rubble lies in front
Rescue workers and volunteers conduct search and rescue operations in the rubble of a collasped building, in Diyarbakir on Feb. 6, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Turkey's southeast.
(Ilyas Akengin
AFP via Getty Images)
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  • Here's the latest on the earthquake in Turkey. You can follow the links for live coverage from our partner newsroom NPR:

  • The powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, killing more than 2,300 people and sending thousands of buildings crashing to the ground. The USGS has recorded data to indicate at least 30 major aftershocks so far.

  • Here's what we know:

    • Another large temblor with a magnitude of 7.5 hit southeastern Turkey. A TV news crew captured a video of the harrowing moment.
    • Cold and snowy conditions are hampering rescue efforts as workers are frantically searching for survivors.
    • The magnitude was roughly the equivalent of the 1999 quake, one of the deadliest quakes in history. That quake killed more than 17,000 people.

A powerful earthquake hit southern Turkey near the Syrian border early Monday, followed by aftershocks, and was felt in Syria and as far as Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq and Egypt.

The 7.8 magnitude quake's epicenter was located near the cities of Nurdağı and Gaziantep, according to the United States Geological Survey.

A star shows the epicenter of a massive quake early Monday  near the border of Syria
A USGS map shows where the earthquake struck.
Courtesy USGS)
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Images shared on social media from southern Turkey and northeast Syria show panicked scenes of families running in the rain or snow amid the debris of collapsed buildings. In Lebanon, the quake was powerful enough to make whole buildings sway.

The earthquake also struck parts of northeast Syria, causing multiple buildings to collapse. Footage from local journalists showed families running through the rain and the darkness in panic amid the debris of devastated homes.

Raed Saleh, the head of the White Helmets civil defense group which operates in northern Syria, wrote on Twitter that people are "trapped under the rubble" and appealed to residents of the devastated areas to remain outside in case of aftershocks.

"Your safety is important," he wrote. "Please do not return to the homes now because of the risks of building collapse as a result of the earthquake."

The earthquake in northern Syria hit parts of the country that have been already been devastated by more than a decade of civil war. In Idlib and Aleppo provinces, basic infrastructure has already been badly damaged by the war. The area is also home to millions of Syrians who fled the fighting in other parts of the country. Many live in refugee camps or basic tented settlements established amid the olive groves that run along the border with Turkey.

Jomah al Qassim, a Syrian living across the border in the Turkish town of Gazientep works for Bahar Organisation, a charity that operates in Syria and in Iraq.

"According to our team in Syria, there are many casualties and damage to the buildings. Many are reported dead," he told NPR. "This is the last thing people need in Syria. There has been crisis after crisis. People are already exhausted."

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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