A devastating earthquake has hit south-east Turkey, measuring 7.8 in magnitude. Several strong aftershocks followed, causing hundreds of fatalities and widespread destruction.
Powerful earth tremors caused extensive damage in south-east Turkey early on Monday morning, February 6th 2023. The earthquake was reported a 7.8 on the Richter Scale, by the USGS.
According to the Geo Research Centre Potsdam, the epicentre was near the city of Gaziantep, not far from the border with Syria. The devastating earthquake occurred at 02:17 am, at a depth of 10 km.
According to authorities, several provinces are affected with many collapsed and devastated buildings. Rescue teams were called in from all over the country.
Around 1000 people so far have been reported killed, with over 5000 injured in the quakes in Turkey and Syria. These numbers are continuing to rise.
The north-west of Syria was also severely affected by the earthquake. The number of victims is being revised upwards almost by the minute. Following several aftershocks, people spent the night and early morning hours outdoors, despite the harsh winter weather.
Turkey is often affected by severe earthquakes. Two of the largest continental plates border each other there: the African and the Eurasian. Most of the Turkish population live in constant danger of earthquakes.
In October 2020, one of the most serious earthquakes in recent years killed more than 100 people in Izmir. And in 1999, a 7.4 magnitude quake around the city of Izmit claimed the lives of more than 17,000 people.
For Turkey's largest city Istanbul, experts also expect a strong quake in the near future. However this 2023 earthquake was remarkable. It released over two times the amount of energy as the largest recorded quakes in the region.
A second 7.5 magnitude earthquake has since hit the region in its wake.