- 6 people died in the recent earthquake
- The earthquake struck while rescue operations were underway in Turkey
- US pledges to help Turkey ‘as long as necessary’
- More than 47,000 people were killed in the February 6 earthquake
ANTAKYA, Turkey, Feb 21 (Reuters) – At least six people were killed in the latest earthquake to hit the border region of Turkey and Syria, authorities said on Tuesday. Thousands of houses.
Monday’s earthquake, this time measuring 6.4, was centered near the southern Turkish city of Antakya and was felt in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) reported 90 aftershocks. Over 6,000 tents were sent to the area overnight for residents frightened by the fresh quake.
The Hatay provincial governor’s building, already damaged in the Feb. 6 earthquake, collapsed in the latest quake, television footage showed.
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 294 people were injured, with 18 seriously injured and taken to hospitals in Adana and Tardiol.
Patients were evacuated from some health facilities in operation after the massive tremor two weeks ago, as cracks appeared in the buildings, Coca said on Twitter.
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Residents said more buildings had collapsed in Samandak, where AFAD said one person had died on Monday, but most of the town had already evacuated after the initial tremors. Mounds of garbage and discarded furniture line the dark, abandoned streets.
Muna al-Omar said he was in a tent in a park in central Antalya when the ground warmed up again.
“I thought the earth would split under my feet,” she sobbed Monday, clutching her 7-year-old son.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during a visit to Turkey on Monday that Washington would help with rescue efforts following the February 6 earthquake, and the focus turned to shelter and reconstruction efforts. .
The death toll from the February 6 earthquakes rose to 41,156 in Turkey, AFAD said on Monday, and was expected to rise further, with more than 385,000 apartments destroyed or badly damaged.
Construction of nearly 200,000 apartments in Turkey’s 11 provinces will begin next month, President Tayyip Erdogan said.
Total U.S. humanitarian assistance to support earthquake response in Turkey and Syria has reached $185 million, the U.S. State Department said.
Some 226,000 pregnant women in Turkey and 130,000 women in Syria need urgent access to health services after the earthquakes, the UN agency for sexual and reproductive health said.
About 39,000 people are due to be delivered in the next month, and many more are staying in camps or in freezing temperatures and struggling to get food or clean water.
In Syria, already torn by more than a decade of civil war, most of the deaths occurred in the northwest, where the United Nations said 4,525 people were killed. The region is controlled by rebels at war with President Bashar al-Assad, complicating aid efforts.
Syrian officials say 1,414 people have been killed in government-held areas.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) sent a convoy of 14 trucks from Turkey into northwestern Syria on Sunday to help with rescue operations.
The World Food Program is also pressing authorities in the region to stop blocking aid access from Syrian government-controlled areas.
As of Monday morning, 197 trucks carrying United Nations humanitarian aid had entered northwestern Syria through two border crossings, a spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs said.
Thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey have returned to their homes in northwest Syria to contact relatives caught up in the disaster.
At the Turkish-Silvegozu border crossing, hundreds of Syrians lined up early Monday morning to cross.
Mustafa Hannan, who said he saw about 350 people waiting, dropped off his pregnant wife and 3-year-old son.
The 27-year-old car electrician said his family was leaving for several months after their home in Antakya collapsed, and he took the authorities’ promise to allow him to spend up to six months in Syria without losing the chance to return to Turkey.
“I’m worried they won’t be allowed back,” he said. “We are already separated from our nation. Are we going to be separated from our families now? If I rebuild here they will not be able to return and my life will be gone.”
Report by Ali Kukukokmen and Henrid Saker; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Huseyin Hayatsever, Ezgi Erkoyun in Turkey and Akriti Sharma in Bangalore; By Parisa Hafezi and Stephen Coates; Editing by Michael Giorgi and Kevin Liffey
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