- Written by Laura Baker and Oliver Slough
- in Hatay and London
Three people died after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday, weeks after the deadly quake hit the region.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 213 people were also injured.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Agency reported that the quake occurred at 20:04 local time (17:04 GMT).
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the same region on February 6, killing more than 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
Soylu said the dead in Monday’s earthquake were found in Antakya, Dafne and Samandagi, and urged people not to enter potentially dangerous buildings.
Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that there was more damage to buildings in Antakya, while the mayor of Hatay in southern Turkey said people were trapped under the rubble.
“I thought the earth would open under my feet,” Muna al-Omar, a local resident, told Reuters, sobbing as she held her seven-year-old son. She said she was in a tent in a park in central Antakya when the latest earthquake struck.
Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since the February 6 earthquake, but a BBC team in the region said the latest tremor was much stronger than the previous quake.
An earthquake struck on Monday near the Turkish-Syrian border, and the White Helmets civil defense group said more than 100 people were injured in Syria, with buildings collapsing and panic spreading widespread.
The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation said that five of its hospitals had received at least 30 people with injuries from the recent earthquake, but added that damage to its medical facilities “appears minimal.”
The earthquake was reportedly felt in Egypt and Lebanon.
Afad said 32 aftershocks occurred in Monday’s aftershock, the largest of which was 5.8 on the Richter scale.
Fear and panic reign in the streets – queues of ambulances and rescue crews are trying to reach some of the worst hit areas as the walls of badly damaged buildings have collapsed.
A number of buildings left standing after the earthquake on February 6 collapsed, including a bridge. Many of the cracks in the roads have become deep scars making it difficult for emergency services to get to where they might be needed.
An AFP journalist reported scenes of panic in Antakya, the capital of Hatay province already devastated by the previous earthquake – with the latest tremors sending clouds of dust into the city.
Building walls also collapsed, AFP reported, and many of the injured apparently called for help.
Ali Mazloum said he was searching for the bodies of family members from the previous earthquake when the last one struck.
“You don’t know what to do…we clung to each other and right in front of us, the walls started to fall in. I felt the earth open up to swallow us,” he said.
In a tweet, Avadh initially urged people to stay away from the coasts as a precaution against the risks of rising sea levels, though the warning was later removed.
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