More than 500 dead in Turkey, Syria after powerful earthquake - WATCH

Monday, 6 February 2023 (11:34 IST)
The death toll has continued to rise rapidly following a strong earthquake which rocked southern Turkey  and northern Syria in the early hours of Monday morning.
Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said that 284 people were confirmed dead across 10 provinces, while more than 2,000 people have been injured. 
Health officials in Syria say the death toll has risen to more than 230.
"The earthquake toll rose to 237 killed and 639 injured," Ahmed Damiriyye, an aide to Syria's health minister, said on Syrian state television.
The US Geological Service said a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Gaziantep, a key industrial hub near the border with Syria.

Rescue efforts underway
Rescue workers have been deployed in Turkey and Syria to pull survivors from the rubble. Residents have also been helping search for survivors among the piles of rubble and debris.
Heavy snowfall was hampering rescue efforts in some parts with roads covered in ice and snow.
"I convey my best wishes to all our citizens who were affected by the earthquake," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.
"We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage."
Tremors could also be felt as far as Lebanon, Cyprus, and Egypt.
Buildings destroyed in Turkey, Syria
According to early reports a large number of buildings have been destroyed in provinces in southern Turkey.
Turkey's vice president said in a briefing that around 1,700 building had collapsed.

Syria's state media also reported that some buildings had collapsed in Aleppo and the central city of Hama. Tremors were also felt in Damascus.

The head of Syria's National Earthquake Center, Raed Ahmed, told local media that this was "historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center."

The White Helmets rescue organization said buildings also collapsed in the rebel-held areas of northwestern Syria, adding that the situation was "disastrous."
The region is one of the world's most active earthquake zones. 
Thousands of people were killed and many more displaced when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the western city of Izmit in 1999.
In 2011, more than 500 people were killed by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in the eastern city of Van.
Offers of support
Meanwhile countries have come forward to offer assistance with White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying the US was ready to help in rescue efforts.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent a message of support and also offered assistance.

"I am shocked to learn of deaths and injuries of hundreds of people as a result of the earthquake in Turkey," Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet. "At this time, we stand by the friendly Turkish people and are ready to provide the necessary assistance,'' Zelenskyy said. 
Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also said his country was prepared to provide any assistance if needed.

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