Massive Earthquake Rocks Turkey, over 100 People Dead

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A powerful earthquake has hit a wide area in South-Eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, killing more than 100 people and trapping many others.

The US Geological Survey informed us that 7.8 magnitude tremor struck at 04.17 local time (01:17 GMT) at a depth of 17.9 km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.

In Turkey, officials confirmed more than 76 deaths so far and 10 cities hit, including Diyarbakir. In Syria, more than 50 people were killed, state media reported.

Fresh reports have hinted that the death toll is expected to rise sharply in the coming hours. Many buildings have collapsed and rescue teams have been deployed to search for survivors under huge piles of rubble.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleymon Soylu identified ten cities – Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir and Kilis – that were largely affected.

Meanwhile, in Malatya province, north-east Gaiantep, at least 23 people were killed, local officials said. In Sanliurfa, to the east, there were 17 deaths, and more deaths were reported in Diyarbakir and Osmaniye.

“I was writing something and just all of a sudden, the entire building started shaking and yes, I didn’t really know what to feel. It was really horrific and terrifying,” Mohamad El Chamma, a student in the Lebanese capital Beirut, told the BBC.

Turkish seismologists estimated the strength of the earthquake to be 7.4 magnitude. The second tremor hit the region just minutes later.

Turkey, lies in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1999, over 17,000 people were killed after a powerful tremor rocked north-west of the country.

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