New Turkey quake kills one, collapses more buildings

Osmaniye, Turkey—An earthquake struck southeastern Turkey on Monday, killing one person, injuring 110 and collapsing 29 buildings, Turkish officials said.

The latest aftershock, with a magnitude of 5.6 and a depth of 6.15 km, came three weeks after the devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Rescue crews have hauled a man alive tied to a stretcher from the rubble of a building in Malatya province, live footage from broadcaster CNN Tak showed.

A short time later, the man’s alleged daughter was rescued from the same apartment. They are said to have entered the damaged building to retrieve belongings left there after the first earthquake three weeks ago.

In one building where three people are believed to have been trapped, the team intermittently asked for silence and listened to the sounds of life inside.

Search and rescue teams have been deployed to five buildings, Yunus Cesar, head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Administration Agency (AFAD), said at a press conference.

In the past three weeks, the region has seen four new quakes and 45 aftershocks with magnitudes of 5 to 6, said Orhan Tatar, AFAD’s general director for earthquakes and risk reduction.

“This is a very unusual activity,” Tatar said.

turkey earthquake
Workers clean up the debris of a collapsed building following a massive earthquake in Antakya, Hatay Province, Turkey, on February 21, 2023. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters)

Election date

The quake came months before presidential and parliamentary elections due by June. The election will be the biggest political challenge for President Tayyip Erdogan after two decades in power.

At a Monday news conference in Adiyaman, one of the provinces hardest hit by the February 6 earthquake, Erdogan acknowledged shortcomings in the government’s response to the disaster.

“During the first few days, we were not able to work in Adiyaman as efficiently as we would have liked due to the devastating effects of the tremors, adverse weather conditions and the challenges of infrastructure damage,” Erdogan said. Told. Understanding of Adiyaman residents.

He said construction of 309,000 homes would begin after preliminary works were completed, reaffirming his pledge to rebuild the homes quickly. He added that construction of housing has started, as well as infrastructure, a medical center and parks.

A delegation from the Turkish Higher Electoral Commission was scheduled to visit the earthquake zone on Monday to start gathering materials for a report on the feasibility of holding elections in the region.

Turkey has arrested 184 people suspected of complicity in the collapse of buildings in this month’s earthquake and is expanding an investigation, the minister said on Saturday.

AFAD said on Sunday that the death toll from the devastating earthquake three weeks ago had risen to 44,374.

The total death toll in Turkey and neighboring Syria has exceeded 50,000.

Over 160,000 buildings, including 520,000 apartments, have been destroyed or severely damaged in Turkey. The disaster was the worst in the country’s modern history.

Earthquakes are expected to have a significant psychological impact, and children are particularly vulnerable.

After the quake, AFAD issued a new warning on Twitter telling people not to enter or stand near damaged buildings in the earthquake zone.

Timur Azari