The death toll from a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and its aftershocks that struck the southeastern region of Turkey along the border with Syria has continued to rise.
The first earthquake struck at 4:17am (01:17 GMT) on Monday and was centred in the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras Province.
According to the United States Geological Service (USGS), the earthquake struck at a depth of about 17.9km (11 miles). Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) put the magnitude of the quake at 7.4 near the cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep.
Dozens of aftershocks were recorded following the quake with officials urging people not to enter damaged buildings due to the risks.
Less than 12 hours later, a second 7.6 magnitude tremor struck the same region.
In a statement carried by the state-run Anadolu Agency, AFAD listed the affected regions so far as Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis. Thousands more have been affected across the border in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, and Latakia.
Earthquake death toll
At least 3,549 deaths have been reported in Turkey, while 1,602 people have died in Syria. The death toll is likely to keep rising.
Yunus Sezer, who heads the AFAD agency, said an additional 15,384 people were injured in Turkey, while 6,217 buildings have collapsed.
The two quakes were followed by 243 aftershocks, he said, adding that 16,400 rescue workers were active in the affected areas.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake. “We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,” he wrote.
Videos shared on social media showed buildings reduced to piles of rubble in several cities along the Turkey-Syria border.