Over 640 Die in Major Earthquake that Hit Turkey, Syria; Death Toll Expected to Rise Higher

Over 640 people died as several buildings collapsed because of a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday. The death toll in this earthquake will be much higher as more bodies are being recovered from the rubble. Turkish authorities urged for international assistance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish at the loss of lives and damage to property due to the earthquake in Turkey and offered all possible assistance to cope with this tragedy.

In government-held areas of Syria, 237 deaths and 516 injuries were recorded. In the northern areas of Syria, controlled by pro-Turkish factions, at least eight people were killed in the quake.

In Turkey, 284 deaths and  2,323 injured were reported so far. This is expected to rise sharply because several are still trapped under the rubble. At least 130 buildings collapsed in Turkey’s Malatya province, close to the epicenter of the quake.

There is a major fault line under Turkey that shakes the country frequently by earthquakes.

The quake on Monday was one of the most powerful to hit the region in at least a century.

It was a pre-dawn quake. So, most people were sleeping when the tremors collapsed the buildings.

According to the US Geological Survey, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck southern Turkey in the wee hours of Monday, followed by another strong temblor of magnitude 6.7. The initial quake was centered 26 km east of Nurdagi city in the Gaziantep province, at a depth of 17.9 km. The second one struck minutes later in central Turkey, at a depth of 9.9 km.

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