Over 125 people were killed and more that 400 others injured in Turkey and Syria after a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck a wide area near the two countries’ border, according to authorities.
The US Geological Survey said the tremor occurred at 4.17 a.m. at a depth of 17.9 km near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, reports the BBC reported.
Addressing reporters, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleymon Soylu said the 10 cities of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir and Kilis were affected.
While Malatya province, north-east of Gaziantep, at least 23 people were killed, in Sanliurfa, to the east, there were 17 deaths, the Minister said, adding that the rest of the fatalities were reported in in Diyarbakir and Osmaniye.
About 440 people were injured.
Meanwhile, Syrian state media said that 50 people were killed due to the quake which was also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.
The fatalities were reported deaths in the regions of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, the state media added.
The initial quake was followed by another one measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale at 4.26 a.m., Xinhua news agency quoted Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), as saying.
At least 50 successive earthquakes were recorded with a maximum magnitude of 6.6, said AFAD.
Widespread damage was reported in at least 10 provinces in southern and southeastern Turkey, it added.
Turkey lies in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.
In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed after a powerful tremor rocked the north-west of the country.
In a more recent quake, 117 people died when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the city of Izmir on October 30, 2020.