A 6.4-magnitude earthquake and a second measuring 5.8 have hit Turkey’s southern province of Hatay, terrifying those left in a region devastated by twin earthquakes two weeks ago.
Turkey’s interior minister, Süleyman Soylu, said that at least three people were killed and 213 wounded by the latest quakes, after a large government hospital in the city of İskenderun in the north of Hatay province declared it was evacuating patients.
The quake was felt in neighboring Syria where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 500 injured in the north-west.
One person was reported dead in the town of Samandag in Hatay by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority AFAD. Residents there said more buildings collapsed but most of the town had already fled after the initial earthquakes. Mounds of debris and discarded furniture lined the dark, abandoned streets.
The latest quakes, less powerful than the 7.8- and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes that tore a path of destruction through southern Turkey and northern Syria on 6 February, threaten yet more devastation in a region where many people have fled their destroyed homes for the safety of other towns and villages outside the quake zone.
The death toll in Turkey from the quakes two weeks ago rose to 41,156 on Monday, AFAD said, and was expected to climb further, with 385,000 apartments known to have been destroyed or seriously damaged and many people still missing. At least 47,000 people are estimated to have died across Turkey and Syria.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said construction work on nearly 200,000 apartments in 11 earthquake-hit provinces of Turkey would begin next month.