Turkey-Syria earthquake: deadly new quakes traps people

Turkey and northern Syria have both been hit by a new earthquake of 6.4 magnitude, with buildings swaying as far away as Lebanon and Egypt. This comes almost two weeks after the first Turkey-Syria earthquake. According to the Turkish disaster response agency AFAD, three people were killed and 213 people have been left injured in Turkey. They also said that the earthquake, at a depth of 7.7km, was centred on the town of Defne, in Hatay province.

While this earthquake was far less violent than the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit southwest Turkey almost two weeks ago it’s effects were still devastating. The earthquake was felt in several countries, including Syria, Egypt, Israel, and Lebanon.

In total 45,000 people have now been confirmed dead in the earlier earthquake, with more than 41,000 of them in Turkey with the number set to rise further in the coming days and weeks.

According to the Turkish authorities, about 1.6 million people have subsequently been made temporarily homeless.

Earlier on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Hatay and pledged that his government would begin the construction of nearly 200,000 new homes in the quake-devastated region as early as next month.

Turkey-Syria earthquake – Why is Turkey hit so badly?

Turkey, a country that has experienced numerous earthquakes in the past, has been working to improve its disaster management efforts. Despite these efforts, however, the frequency and severity of earthquakes in the region continue to pose a significant risk to those living in affected areas. President Erdogan, who has been under criticism over a perceived slow response to the earthquake as well as having presided over a system where corrupt developers failed to meet construction standards. The nature of the soil in southwestern Turkey is said to worsen the effects of earthquakes, with Erdogan promising that new apartment blocks will be built on higher ground. The government’s response comes two weeks after a previous earthquake caused significant damage in the nearby city of Antakya.

As the Turkey and Syria work to recover from the latest earthquake, it remains to be seen how effective the government’s response will be in addressing the needs of those affected by this natural disaster.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue