New 6.4 earthquake rocks Turkey, Syria


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — There are reports of more collapsed buildings Turkey in Syria after another 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s Hatay province which was devastated by a massive tremor two week ago.

Syria's state news agency, SANA, is reporting six people have been injured in Aleppo from falling debris, while the mayor of Hatay says a number of buildings have collapsed, trapping people inside. Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD, said the new quake was centered around the town of Defne, in Hatay province.

It was followed by a second, magnitude 5.8 tremor. NTV television said the quake caused some damaged buildings to collapse, but there were no immediate reports of any casualties. The quake was felt in Syria, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake which struck Feb. 6 has killed nearly 45,000 people in Turkey and Syria. Turkish authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks since.

Lutfu Savas, the mayor for Hatay says a number of buildings have collapsed following the new, 6.4 magnitude earthquake, trapping people inside. Savas said those trapped are believed to be people who had either returned to homes or were trying move furniture from damaged homes.

In the Turkish city of Adana, eyewitness Alejandro Malaver said people left homes for the streets, carrying blankets into their cars. Malaver said everyone is really scared and that “no one wants to get back into their houses.”

Syria’s state news agency, SANA, has reported that six people were injured and taken to hospital in the northern city of Aleppo as a result from falling debris shaken loose from buildings by the new tremor.

The Syrian opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense also known as White Helmets are reporting that several people have been injured in Syria’s rebel-held northwest after they jumped from buildings or when they were struck by falling debris in the town of Jinderis, one of the most affected town by the Feb. 6 earthquake.

The White Helmets added that several damaged and abandoned buildings collapsed in Syria’s northwest without injuring anyone.

The Syrian American Medical Society, which runs hospitals in northern Syria, said it had treated a number of patients - including a 7-year-old boy - who suffered heart attacks brought on by fear following the earthquake.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay says inspections for damage were underway in Hatay and is urging citizens to stay away from damaged buildings and to carefully follow rescue teams' directions.

The disaster management agency, AFAD, meanwhile urged citizens to stay away from the coastline as a precaution against “the risk of the sea level rising up to 50 centimeters high.”

Some media outlets in Syria’s Idlib and Aleppo regions that were badly affected by the new, 6.4 magnitude earthquake are reporting that some buildings have collapsed and that electricity and internet services have been interrupted in parts of the region.

The media outlets said many people fled their homes and are gathering in open areas.

Meanwhile, the White Helmets issued an alert urging residents in the country’s rebel-held northwest to follow guidelines released earlier regarding earthquakes and how to evacuate buildings.

The Turkish disaster management agency, AFAD, has raised the number of confirmed fatalities from the earthquake in Turkey to 41,156. That increases the overall death toll in both Turkey and Syria to 44,844.

Search and rescue operations for survivors have been called off in most of the quake zone, but AFAD chief Yunus Sezer told reporters that search teams were pressing ahead with their efforts in more than a dozen collapsed buildings — most of them in the hardest-hit province of Hatay.

There were no signs of anyone being alive under the rubble since three members of one family — a mother, father and 12-year-old boy — were extracted from a collapsed building in Hatay on Saturday. The boy later died.