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Shaken like a cradle’: Earthquake kills 640 in Turkey, Syria; hunt on for survivors

India Today Web Desk

The death toll surpassed 600 after an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck close to the Syrian border on Monday, levelling buildings in Turkey and northern Syria.

By India Today Web Desk: At least 640 people were killed and several buildings knocked down in Turkey and Syria after a powerful 7.8-magnitude quake struck southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border, on Monday. Authorities said the toll is expected to rise.

Tukey’s state media reported 284 people were confirmed dead while around 2,323 others were hurt. At least 130 buildings tumbled down in Malatya province, while 16 collapsed in Diyarbakir. Search for survivors trapped under the rubble is underway.

Tremors were also felt in the Turkish capital of Ankara, 460 km northwest of the epicentre. In the wake of the quake, Turkish authorities have declared a “level 4 alarm” that calls for international assistance.

In northern Syria, at least 237 people were killed and over 600 injured, said officials. Several buildings were flattened in Aleppo. The tremors were so strong that they were felt as far away as Lebanon and Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and offered all possible assistance to Turkey. “Anguished by the loss of lives and damage of property due to earthquake in Turkey. Condolences to bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey and is ready to offer all possible assistance to cope with this tragedy,” PM Modi tweeted.

According to the US Geological Survey, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck southern Turkey in the wee hours of Monday, followed by another strong temblor of magnitude 6.7.

The initial quake was centered 26 km east of Nurdagi city in the Gaziantep province, at a depth of 17.9 km. The second one struck minutes later in central Turkey, at a depth of 9.9 km.

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Chandana Sesath Jayakody

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