Second powerful earthquake rocks Turkey hours after morning devastation
Turkey has been hit with a second earthquake measuring more than 7 magnitude, according to measurements from the US Geological Survey.
The tremor, measuring 7.5 magnitude was picked up about four kilometres outside Ekinozu, central Turkey. The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) measured the quake at 7.7 magnitude, with its epicentre about 40 miles north north-east of Kahramanmaras, a depth of 2km.
It comes after an earthquake hit close to Gaziantep, southeast Turkey – about 100 miles south of Ekinozu – as well as neighbouring Syria, killing more than 1,500.
Thousands more were injured when the earthquake struck, collapsing apartment blocks and heaping more destruction on Syrian cities already devastated by years of war.
The quake, which hit in the early darkness of a winter morning, was the worst to hit Turkey this century. It was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
Rescue workers operating in bitter winter weather pulled casualties from rubble across the region.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) expects a significant jump in the death toll following the two major earthquakes and aftershocks.
"I think we can expect the death toll to increase significantly," Rick Brennan, the WHO's regional emergency director for the Eastern Mediterranean, told Reuters.
"There's been a lot of building collapses and it will increase more significantly around the epicentre of the earthquake."
Turkey has said that around 1,500 people have died in the earthquake, with thousands more injured.
In Syria, already wrecked by more than 11 years of civil war, the health ministry said more than 430 people had been killed in government-held areas.
At least 380 people were killed opposition-held areas of northwest Syria,
A spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), Madevi Sun-Suon, told Reuters said the agency expected the casualty figures to increase as many people remained stuck under the rubble amid a response effort being hampered by tough weather conditions.
The agency had also recorded at least 170 buildings damaged in northwest Syria, the spokesperson said.