Another Earthquake Strikes Southwest Turkey, Stirring Panic
ADANA, Turkey — A powerful new earthquake shook southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Monday evening, spreading panic among survivors two weeks after a powerful double tremor nearby destroyed more than 100,000 buildings, killed more than 46,000 people and left more than a million homeless.
The 6.3-magnitude quake struck near the town of Uzunbag in Turkey’s Hatay Province just after 5 p.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey. The same province suffered widespread damage in the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck before dawn on Feb. 6, followed by a powerful 7.5-magnitude aftershock a few hours later.
The shaking on Monday spread terror across the quake zone, where many people, traumatized by the earlier disaster, are staying in tents and sleeping in their cars because they remain too scared to to go inside any buildings.
It was not immediately clear whether the new quake had caused any structures to collapse in the already stricken area or whether it had killed anyone.
At the Sheraton hotel in the city of Adana, where a number of buildings had collapsed in the initial quake, families crammed into elevators with their luggage to evacuate the building.
Deadly Quake in Turkey and Syria
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6, with its epicenter in Gaziantep, Turkey, has become one of the deadliest natural disasters of the century.
- Near the Epicenter: Amid scenes of utter devastation in the ancient Turkish city of Antakya, thousands are trying to make sense of an earthquake that left them with no home and no future.
- A Flawed Design: Residents of a new upscale tower in Turkey were told it was earthquake resistant, but the building collapsed anyway. A close look offers clues as to why.
- Miraculous Rescues: Two brothers who rationed protein powder while trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building for about 200 hours were among those rescued in Turkey a week after the quake.
- In Erzin: The small Turkish city survived the quake with no casualties and little damage. The mayor credited his enforcement of building standards, but scientists say it is more likely about geology.
One woman suppressed sobs, trying to reach someone on her phone. Another guest began calling family members, urging them to leave the building.
“How will I ever go back to my building,” one woman muttered.
“I’m trembling. We are all traumatized,” said Asu Askit, the wife of the hotel’s owner. “I think I will stay in my car tonight.”
The authorities in Turkey warned residents of the quake zone to stay away from damaged structures, and the country’s national disaster management organization warned people in a tweet to stay away from Mediterranean coastline, fearing that the sea level could rise as much as a half meter.
Serkan Topal, a Turkish lawmaker who was in Hatay during Monday’s earthquake, told Turkey’s Halk TV, “I am afraid there are casualties,” without specifying if he meant dead or wounded.
The new quake could exacerbate the challenge of providing shelter to survivors still in the area, he said.
“Now, we will need even more tents even more,” he said. “After this evening’s quake, no one will enter their houses. We need tents, tents.”
Hatay’s governor, Rahmi Dogan, told the state-run Anadolu news agency that the authorities were scanning the city for possible destruction and that residents had appealed for help.
“We kindly ask all of our citizens to stay away from damaged buildings and follow our team’s warnings,” Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
Across the border in Syria, some buildings that had been damaged in the first earthquake collapsed after the new quake on Monday, said Muneer Mustafa, the deputy chief of the White Helmets, a rescue organization. Some minor injuries were reported and rescue teams were being deployed to assess the damage, he said.
The newly collapsed buildings were in already hard-hit areas in northwestern Syria, including in the towns of Jindaris and Harem.
Elsewhere in Syria, medics reported injuries from falling trees and residents being rushed to hospitals after fainting or suffering heart attacks.
In the city of Aleppo, six people were hospitalized after being injured by debris falling from buildings, according to the state-run news media.
Turkey’s disaster management said this week that more than 6,000 aftershocks had hit the 11 provinces that make up the disaster zone in the days since the initial quakes of early February. A few dozen of them had a magnitude between 5 and 6.
Cora Engelbrecht reported from Adana, Turkey, and Ben Hubbard from Istanbul. Reporting was contributed by Raja Abdulrahim in Adana, Safak Timur, Gulsin Harman in Istanbul and Hwaida Saad in Beirut, Lebanon.