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WORLD NEWS | New earthquake brings fresh losses to residents of Turkiye, Syria


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ISTANBUL, Feb. 21 (AP) Survivors of an earthquake that ripped through Turkey and Syria 15 days ago killed tens of thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless, and survivors of a deadly quake and aftershocks on Tuesday are grappling with even more pressure. Much trauma and loss. area.

The 6.4-magnitude quake that struck late Monday was centered in the Defne district of Turkey’s Hatay province, the region’s hardest hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6 that killed nearly 46,000 people in both countries.

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Turkiye’s disaster management agency AFAD said six people were killed and 294 were injured in the new quake, 18 of them in critical condition. In Syria, a woman and a girl died of panic following an earthquake in Hama and Tartus provinces, pro-government media reported.

Monday’s quake was felt in Jordan, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt. A 5.8-magnitude earthquake and dozens of aftershocks followed. The White Helmets, a civil defense group in northwestern Syria, said about 190 people were injured in rebel-held areas and several fragile buildings collapsed, but there were no reports of anyone trapped under the rubble.

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In Turkiye, teacher Zuher Capar, 42, said he was mourning loved ones lost in the initial quake and felt Monday’s quake as his aunt and uncle ate near the town of Hatay in Samandag.

“It vibrated a little bit, and then it got stronger,” he said. “The electricity went out and there was screaming everywhere. There were small children in the house. They were screaming and my aunt was crying.”

On February 6, Kapal rushed to try to help his cousin, his wife and the couple’s young child out of the wreckage of the collapsed house, but they did not survive.

“We’ve barely gotten over the grief (of the first earthquake),” he said.

While his extended family’s house withstood the earthquake earlier this month, it was damaged on Monday. They were too scared to sleep there and planned to live in large tents and cars, Kapal said.

“We’re trying to stay strong, but it’s been a horrible process. The cities we knew, the memories we had, were destroyed,” he said. “When we walked down the street, there was only rubble and heavy machinery. It was like a scene from a horror movie.

Turkish officials have warned residents not to go into the ruins of their homes, but people have done so to retrieve what they can. The three people killed on Monday were all inside a damaged four-story building when the new quake struck.

Aftershocks and structural instability complicated rescue efforts and it took hours for searchers to find the bodies, Turkish news agency DHA said.

Anesthetist Dr Tahsin Cinar, who is on leave to provide medical care in Hatay as a representative of the Turkish Medical Association, said earthquake survivors need serious help with their mental health.

“They feel so alone, so abandoned, and very anxious. Even a slight shiver can lead to a severe anxiety reaction,” he said.

Cinar and other volunteers initially provided emergency care to the physically injured. Now, they see more trauma, depression and stress from a lack of safe housing, winter weather and educational disruptions.

“There is very little that creates social well-being,” he said.

After the first quake struck, student Ada Yildirim boarded a bus to seek help in Hatay province, where her family lives. She was alone in an apartment in the Reyhanli district near the Syrian border on Monday when “everything started to shake very fast”.

“The earthquake was really big, really big,” she said.

A group of people with children were out overnight, some in their cars. Yildirim said they had been waiting for three days for the tents, but now they are needed more urgently.

“What are we going to do if we can’t stay at home?” she said.

About 13.5 million people live in Turkey’s 11 earthquake-hit areas. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 865,000 people were living in tents as of Tuesday. Some 270 tent cities have been established in the affected provinces, and the winter weather has exacerbated the suffering of displaced citizens.

Umit Ozalp, who has lived in the city of Antakya for 40 years, is preparing to leave, carrying a few small bags at the bus stop with others.

“We have nothing left. Our home, our country, our children. We have lost our jobs. Our situation is miserable,” Ozalp said.

Kenan Caglar, an employee of the bus company, said the company transports at least 2,000 passengers a day, most of them to Istanbul or the Mediterranean cities of Antalya and Mersin.

Most of the deaths from the massive Feb. 6 quake and a 7.5-magnitude quake nine hours later were in Turkiye, where at least 42,310 people died, according to the disaster management agency.

More than 110,000 buildings in Turkey’s 11 provinces were either destroyed or badly damaged requiring demolition, authorities said.

Turkiye’s defense minister said about 20,000 Syrians living in Turkiye had returned to Syria after the earthquake.

“They are returning to their land because they have lost their homes and their loved ones,” Hulusi Akar said in Hatay on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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