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Another earthquake strikes Turkey and Syria

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Ankara, Turkey –

A fresh 6.4-magnitude earthquake on Monday killed three people and injured more than 200 in parts of Turkey, which was devastated by a massive earthquake two weeks ago that killed tens of thousands of people. Officials said more buildings collapsed, trapping passengers and injuring many people in Turkey and Syria.

The epicenter of Monday’s quake was in the town of Defne in Turkey’s Hatay province, one of the areas hardest hit by the 7.8-magnitude quake on February 6. I felt it in Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, Israel and even Egypt. Another earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 followed.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said three people were killed and 213 wounded. Search and rescue efforts are underway in three collapsed buildings where five people are believed to be trapped.

Hatay Mayor Lutvu Savas said a number of buildings collapsed in the new quake, trapping people inside. He told NTV that it could be people who have returned home or are trying to move their furniture from the damaged buildings.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that at least eight people were taken to hospital in Turkey. Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported that six people were injured in Aleppo by falling debris.

In Hatay, police search teams rescued a person who was trapped inside a 3-storey building and was trying to reach three other people inside, according to HaberTurk TV.

The February 6 earthquake killed nearly 45,000 people in the two countries, the vast majority in Turkey, where more than 1.5 million people live in temporary shelters. Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since then.

HaberTurk reporters writing from Hatay said they were rocked by an earthquake on Monday and were standing close to each other to avoid falling.

In the Turkish city of Adana, eyewitness Alejandro Malaver said people left their homes on the streets, carrying blankets in their cars. Everyone is really scared, Malaver said, and “no one wants to go home.”

The Syrian opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, reported that several people were injured in opposition-held northwest Syria after jumping from buildings or after initially being exposed to rubble in Jenderes, one of the worst affected towns. since the February 6 earthquake.

The White Helmets said that many damaged and abandoned buildings collapsed in northwest Syria without injuring anyone.

In the Syrian city of Idlib, frightened residents prepared to sleep in parks and other public places, while gas pipes formed at gas stations, as people tried to get as far away as possible from any building that might collapse.

The Syro-America medical society, which is home to the north of Syria, has a known trait of a certain number of patients – who are not aware of the age of 7 – who is aware of cardiological crises due to the current crisis in the new suite. earthquake.

Oktay said damage inspections are underway in Hatay, urging citizens to stay away from damaged buildings and follow rescue teams’ instructions carefully.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Hatay earlier on Monday and said his government would start building about 200,000 new homes in the quake-hit area early next month.

Erdogan said the new buildings would not be more than three or four storeys high and would be built on stronger land, with higher standards and in consultation with “professors of geophysics, geotechnology, geology and seismology” and other experts.

The Turkish leader said the destroyed cultural relics would be rebuilt according to their “historical and cultural fabric”.

Erdogan said about 1.6 million people are currently staying in temporary shelters.

Turkey’s Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) on Monday raised the confirmed death toll from the February 6 earthquake in Turkey to 41,156, bringing the total death toll in Turkey and Syria to 44,844.

Search and rescue operations for survivors have been called off in most of the quake area, but Disaster and Emergency Management Chief Yunus Sezer said search teams are continuing their efforts in more than a dozen collapsed buildings, most of them in Hatay province.

There has been no sign of life under the rubble since three members of the same family – a mother, father and a 12-year-old boy – were pulled from a collapsed building in Hatay on Saturday. The boy later died.

Authorities said more than 110,000 buildings in 11 quake-hit provinces in Turkey were either destroyed or badly damaged by the February 6 quake, prompting their demolition.

And the European Union’s health agency warned, on Monday, of the risk of epidemics spreading in the coming weeks. “Food- and water-borne illnesses, respiratory infections, and vaccine-preventable infections pose a risk in the period ahead, with the potential for outbreaks, especially as survivors move into temporary shelters,” the CDC said.

“An increase in cholera cases in the affected areas is a great possibility in the coming weeks,” she said, noting that authorities in northwestern Syria have reported thousands of cases of the disease since last September, and that a planned vaccination campaign has been delayed due to the outbreak. earthquake.

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