More than two thousand three hundred lives were lost and rescue teams are frantically searching for survivors in the wake of a cataclysmic earthquake that ripped through Turkey and Syria, leaving a trail of destruction. This epic quake is one of the fiercest to strike the region in a century, awakening locals from their sleep at around 4 a.m. on Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel. Thus far, AFAD has declared that 1,498 individuals have perished in Turkey and thousands more have sustained injuries.
According to Syria’s state news agency, SANA, at least 820 people have died in neighboring Syria. SANA reports that 430 people have died in government-controlled areas, most of them in Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus. An opposition-controlled area was reported to have suffered 390 deaths by the “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense. A bloody civil war that began in 2011 has ravaged much of northwest Syria, bordering Turkey.
USGS says the 7.8-magnitude quake occurred 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi, in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles).
The USGS reports that about nine hours after the initial quake, a major aftershock of 7.5 magnitude struck Turkey. It hit around 95 kilometers (59 miles) north of the original quake.