3 dead, over 600 injured after new quake hits Turkey

Ankara, Feb 21 :Three people are now confirmed to have died after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday, weeks after a deadly quake devastated the region.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu also said 213 people had been injured.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency Afad said the tremor occurred at 20:04 local time (17:04 GMT), the BBC reported.

A 7.8-magnitude quake struck the same area on February 6, killing more than 44,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Those killed by Monday’s tremor were found in Antakya, Defne, and Samandagi, Soylu said, urging people not to enter potentially dangerous buildings.

Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since the February 6 earthquake hit, but the BBC’s team in the region said the latest tremor felt much stronger than previous ones.

Monday’s earthquake hit near the Turkey-Syria border, and the White Helmets civil defence group said more than 100 people were injured in Syria, with buildings collapsing and widespread panic, the BBC reported.

The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation said that five of its hospitals received at least 30 people with injuries from the latest earthquake, but added that damage to its medical facilities “appears to be minimal”.

The earthquake was also reportedly felt in Egypt and Lebanon.

There is fear and panic in Turkey as small aftershocks keep coming. Lines of ambulances and rescue crews are trying to get to some of the worst affected areas where the walls of badly damaged buildings have collapsed.

A number of structures that were left standing after the tremor on February 6 have now crumbled, including a bridge. Many cracks in roads have become deep scars making it more difficult for the emergency services to get where they may be needed.

An AFP journalist reported on scenes of panic in Antakya, the capital of Hatay province which was already devastated by the previous earthquake — with the latest tremors raising clouds of dust in the city.

The walls of badly damaged buildings also crumbled, AFP reports, with several apparently injured people calling for help.

In a tweet, Afad initially urged people to stay away from coastlines as a precaution against the risk of rising sea levels, although the warning was later removed.