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6 February 2023

Huge Earthquake Kills 3,700 in Turkiye and Syria, Bad Weather Worsens Plight

Two earthquakes killed more than 2,600 people across #Turkiye and northwest Syria on Monday, taking down whole apartment blocks and piling devastation on millions.

Huge Earthquake Kills 3,700 in Turkiye and Syria, Bad Weather Worsens Plight

People search for survivors under the rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkiye February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar 

KAHRAMANMARAS, Turkiye/DAMASCUS (Reuters) - A huge earthquake killed more than 3,700 people across a swathe of Turkiye and northwest Syria on Monday, with freezing winter weather adding to the plight of the thousands left injured or homeless and hampering efforts to find survivors.   

The magnitude 7.8 quake brought down whole apartment blocks in Turkish cities and piled more devastation on millions of Syrians displaced by years of war.   

The worst tremor to strike Turkiye this century, it came before sunrise in harsh weather and was followed in the early afternoon by another large quake of magnitude 7.7.   

"It was like the apocalypse," said Abdul Salam al-Mahmoud, a Syrian in the northern town of Atareb. "It's bitterly cold and there's heavy rain, and people need saving."   

The second quake was big enough to bring down more buildings and, like the first, was felt across the region, endangering rescuers struggling to pull casualties from the rubble.  

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Rescuers carry out a girl from a collapsed building following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkiye February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar 

In Diyarbakir in southeast Turkiye, a woman speaking next to the wreckage of the seven-storey block where she lived said: "We were shaken like a cradle. There were nine of us at home. Two sons of mine are still in the rubble, I'm waiting for them."   

She was nursing a broken arm and had injuries to her face.   

The earthquake was the biggest quake recorded worldwide by the U.S. Geological survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021.   

In Turkiye, the death toll stood at 2,316, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said, making it the country's deadliest earthquake since a tremor of similar magnitude in 1999 devastated the heavily populated eastern Marmara Sea region near Istanbul, killing more than 17,000.