Thu, 30 March 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Earthquake strikes central Turkey again

Update : 25 Feb 2023, 20:57

The quake struck 350 kilometers west of the region that was hit by two massive seismic disasters earlier this month. The death toll from the earlier disaster has surpassed 50,000.

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Central Turkey on Saturday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said.

The quake was at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.21 miles), EMSC said, while the local AFAD disaster agency said it occurred at 1.27 p.m. local time (1027 GMT).

The Kandilli earthquake monitoring center said the epicenter was located in the district of Bor, in the province of Nigde.

Nidge is some 350 kilometers (217 miles) west of the Turkish-Syrian border region that was struck by two major quakes on February 6.

Mayor Emrah Ozdemir told state broadcaster TRT that no damage was reported yet.

Teams are on site to assess the aftermath, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter.

Prior to this, at least seven tremors over magnitude 4 had been recorded since Friday evening in Turkey, including the quake-hit south, according to AFAD.

More than 9,500 aftershocks have followed the devastating 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude quakes three weeks ago that left more than 50,000 people dead in Turkey and Syria.

AFAD's Orhan Tatar told reporters in Ankara that tremors are expected to continue for the next two years.

A series of tremors were also recorded in war-torn Syria and neighboring Iraq on Saturday.

At least 44,000 of the deaths were recorded in Turkey alone, according to AFAD.

More than 173,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged and nearly two million locals were made homeless, according to government data.

In Syria, 5,900 deaths have been reported so far, although a war monitor has said that 6,760 people have died.

The February 6 disasters are expected to have cost Turkey some $84 billion (€79 billion).

Also Saturday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said at least 184 people have been detained over alleged negligence concerning collapsed buildings following the quakes.

Among the detained are also contractors and the mayor of Gaziantep province's Nurdagi district.

The government has been criticized for overlooking poor construction standards.

Meanwhile, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said his city, which sits close to a major fault line, needs an urgent urbanization program worth "around $30 billion to $40 billion" to prepare for an anticipated major quake.

"The amount is three times more than Istanbul city's annual budget, but we need to be ready before it is too late," Imamoglu told a science council.

A potential quake of over magnitude 7.5 will damage nearly 500,000 buildings, inhabited by 6.2 million people, some 40% of the city's population, according to a 2021 report by the Kandilli monitor.

Istanbul sits next to the notorious Northern Anatolian fault line. A major quake in 1999 that struck the Marmara region, including Istanbul, killed more than 18,000 people.

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