Deadly new earthquakes trap people under rubble in Turkey

FEBRUARY 21: 6.4 and 5.8 magnitude tremors struck the southeast near the Syrian border, where massive earthquakes devastated both countries on February 6.

Previous earthquakes have killed 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria and left tens of thousands more homeless.

Buildings weakened by those tremors collapsed in both countries on Monday.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency says the 6.4 temblor struck at 8:04 p.m. local time (1704 GMT), followed by the 5.8 quake three minutes later.

The three deaths occurred in Antakya, Defne and Samandag, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, urging people not to enter potentially dangerous buildings.

Soylu said 213 people were also injured.

Reports from the city of Antakya spoke of fear and panic on the streets as ambulances and rescue teams tried to reach the hardest hit areas where the walls of badly damaged buildings had collapsed.

“I thought the ground was going to crack under my feet,” local resident Muna al-Omar told the Reuters news agency, crying as she held her seven-year-old son. She had been in a tent in a park in the center of the city when the new earthquakes struck.

Ali Mazlum, 18, told the AFP news agency that he had been looking for the bodies of relatives from previous earthquakes when the latest tremors struck.

“You don’t know what to do… we held on and right in front of us, the walls started to fall,” he said.

In Syria, some 470 injured people are said to have visited hospitals after Monday’s earthquakes, which were also felt in Egypt and Lebanon.

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