A 6.4-magnitude quake and a 5.8-magnitude quake have struck the southern province of Hatay in Turkey, scaring residents remaining in a region ravaged by twin quakes two weeks ago.
The interior minister of Turkey, Süleyman Soylu, stated that at least three people were killed and 213 were injured by the recent earthquakes, when a huge government hospital in the city of Skenderun in northern Hatay province evacuated patients.
AFAD, Turkey’s Authority for Disaster and Emergency Management, confirmed one fatality in the town of Samandag in Hatay. According to locals, additional structures had collapsed, but the majority of the population had already evacuated following the initial tremors. Dark, deserted lanes were littered with mounds of trash and discarded furniture.
Less powerful than the 7.8- and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes that ripped a path of destruction through southern Turkey and northern Syria on 6 February, the latest tremors threaten additional devastation in a region where many people have fled their destroyed homes for the safety of towns and villages outside the quake zone.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported that the greater quake occurred at a shallow depth of just 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), which could have amplified its effects on the ground. It originated near the Turkish city of Antakya in the south and was felt in Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon.
Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD reported that the epicenter of the larger quake was located beneath the Defne district of Hatay, in a location where many have criticized the government’s response to the initial quakes.