Turkey earthquake was strongest since 1939, when 33,000 people died | World News - Hindustan Times
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Turkey earthquake was strongest since 1939, when 33,000 people died

Bloomberg | | Posted by Singh Rahul Sunilkumar
Feb 06, 2023 02:27 PM IST

Turkey Earthquake live updates: Striking before dawn in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, the 7.7 magnitude quake was felt as far as Egypt and Cyprus. It was the strongest earthquake in Turkey since 1939, when a powerful temblor struck eastern city of Erzincan and killed about 33,000 people.

One of the most powerful earthquakes to hit the Middle East in years has killed hundreds of people in Syria and Turkey, and forced a halt in crude oil flows to a key export terminal. Follow Turkey Earthquake live updates here

People walk next to a mosque destroyed by the earthquake in Malatya, Turkey.(AP)
People walk next to a mosque destroyed by the earthquake in Malatya, Turkey.(AP)

Striking before dawn in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, the 7.7 magnitude quake was felt as far as Egypt and Cyprus.

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Turkey stopped oil flows to Ceyhan export terminal on the Mediterranean coast as a precaution, although no leaks were detected on the pipelines feeding crude to the facility, according to an official with direct knowledge of the matter.

Infrastructure in the affected area carries millions of barrels per day through and connects Turkey with producers in Iraq and Azerbaijan. Some parts of the local gas network were hit, stopping supply to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces, Turkish state pipeline company Botas said.

Turkey hopes to restore gas flows within 48 hours, the Turkish official with direct knowledge of the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was the strongest earthquake in Turkey since 1939, when a powerful temblor struck eastern city of Erzincan and killed about 33,000 people, according to Okan Tuysuz, a professor of geology at Istanbul Technical University. The country lies in one of the world’s most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines.

Authorities said 284 were killed in Turkey and 237 in Syria, with destruction concentrated in border areas that house millions of refugees. Thousands were injured and trapped as buildings collapsed.

The disaster affected several Turkish provinces stretching hundreds of kilometers, where about 13 million people are bracing for colder winter temperatures. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is facing general elections in May, dispatched several cabinet ministers to the area.

“We have activated a fourth-level alert, this entails international help,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told a televised news conference in Ankara. ALSO READ: Turkey earthquake: ‘India ready to provide possible help,’ says PM Modi

In 1999, twin tremors hit the areas surrounding Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and killed about 18,000 people. The deadly quakes overwhelmed the center-left coalition in charge at the time, paving the way for a deep financial crisis that helped Erdogan’s AK Party to come to power.

Turkey’s stock exchange Borsa Istanbul halted trading of eight stocks until they make a statement on their operations in the quake area. The main stock index fell as much as 3.2% and was trading 1.8% down as of 10:41 am in Istanbul. The Turkish lira was little changed at 18.8332 per dollar.

The quake damaged the runway of the airport in Hatay, where some hospitals also partially collapsed, authorities said. Some highways in Hatay and the Gaziantep province were also damaged, they said.

The US was assessing options to help the most affected, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement, citing orders by President Joe Biden. Israel said it had ordered a rapid aid program.

Those dead were in six Turkish provinces including Sanliurfa, Osmaniye, Diyarbakir and Malatya, the country’s disaster management authority said, adding that 2,323 people were injured. In Syria at least 516 people were injured, the official news agency SANA said.

Turkey hosts the biggest refugee population in the world and many of the 3.7 million registered Syrian refugees are concentrated in areas affected by the quake.

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