Over 1300 people were killed and thousands injured after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northern Syria early today. The earthquake, with its epicentre in Gaziantep about 90 kilometres from the Syrian border, led to the toppling of hundreds of buildings.
This is the region which houses millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war. The quake was felt as far away as Egypt. Hundreds were still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the death toll in the country following the earthquake has risen to 912. He said, 2,818 buildings collapsed in today's quake, calling it his country's largest disaster since 1939.
India and other countries along with international organisations are rushing aid to earthquake-hit areas.
The Government of India has decided to immediately dispatch search and rescue teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and medical teams along with relief material to Turkey. The relief measures will be taken up in coordination with the government of Türkey. The decision was taken in a meeting held by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. P. K. Mishra in New Delhi today in light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instructions to offer all possible assistance and relief measures to the victims of an earthquake there.
Two teams of NDRF comprising 100 personnel with specially trained dog squads and necessary equipment are ready to be flown to the earthquake-hit area for search and rescue operations. Medical teams are also being readied with trained doctors and paramedics with essential medicines. Relief material will be dispatched in coordination with the government of Türkey and Indian Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General office in Istanbul.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the loss of lives due to the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, India is committed to providing assistance and support in this difficult time.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said its network of emergency medical teams has been activated to provide essential health care for the injured and most vulnerable affected by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, a second earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck southeastern Turkey's Kahramanmaras region. The Country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said, the earthquake occurred at a depth of 7 km, adding that the epicentre of the quake was Elbistan region of Kahramanmaras province. (AIR NEWS)