More than 3,700 people were murdered in a large area of Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, and the search for survivors has been hampered by the frigid winter conditions.
Whole apartment towers collapsed in Turkish cities, and millions of Syrians already displaced by years of war suffered additional damage as a result of the earthquake.
It hit during the wee hours of the morning during stormy conditions, and it was followed by another major tremor in the early afternoon.
A Turkish woman in Diyarbakir, southeast of the country, said next to the rubble of the seven-story building where she formerly said:
“We were shaken like a cradle. There were nine of us at home. Two sons of mine are still in the rubble, I’m waiting for them.”
She had a fractured arm and facial wounds that needed tending.
“It was like the apocalypse,” said Abdul Salam al-Mahmoud, a Syrian in the northern town of Atareb. “It’s bitterly cold and there’s heavy rain, and people need saving.”
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Since August 2021, when a quake hit the faraway South Atlantic, this quake was the largest ever recorded by the United States Geological Survey.
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) reported that 2,316 people had died as a result of the earthquake, making it the deadliest in the country since a quake of a similar magnitude in 1999 killed more than 17,000 people in the densely populated eastern Marmara Sea region near Istanbul.
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