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A powerful magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck southern Turkey near the Syrian border on Monday evening
earthquake causing panic and further damaging buildings in the region. The earthquake hit just two weeks after Turkey experienced its worst earthquake in modern history, which left tens of thousands dead.
According to reports from two Reuters journalists on the ground, the tremors were strong and long-lasting, causing damage to buildings and leaving dust in the air in the central city of Antakya where the earthquake was centered. The earthquake was also felt in Egypt and Lebanon, as reported by Reuters.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC)
reported that the earthquake struck at a shallow depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles). As a result, the impact was felt even more strongly in the affected areas.
Antakya police immediately patrolled the area, while ambulances rushed to the city center to help those in need. Some people fainted, while others took to the streets, calling for help on their cell phones.
Turkish rescue teams quickly sprang into action, running around on foot to check on residents in the affected areas, many of whom were already living in temporary tents following the previous earthquakes.
One local resident, Muna Al Omar, shared her experience of the earthquake, stating that she was in a tent in a park in central Antakya when it struck. She expressed that she thought the earth was going to split open beneath her feet, and she held her 7-year-old son tightly in her arms.
She tearfully asked, “Is there going to be another aftershock?” – a fear that many in the region shared following the two large earthquakes that hit on Feb. 6, leaving more than a million people homeless and killing far more than the latest official tally of 46,000 people in both countries.
Although smaller tremors have been felt in the area over the last two weeks, the Monday earthquake was the largest since Feb. 6. Witnesses reported that it was incredibly strong, with one individual named Burhan Abdelrahman stating, “It jolted us out of our places.”
As a result of the earthquake
Turkey’s disaster agency AFAD urged residents to stay away from the Mediterranean coast over concerns of a possible 50-centimeter rise in water levels. Videos posted on social media, although not verified by Reuters, showed passengers at Antakya airport taking cover in panic as the quake jolted the glass building.
The region remains on high alert, and residents are bracing themselves for the possibility of further aftershocks. Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.