ANKARA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — At least three people were killed and 213 others were sent to hospitals after two fresh earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye on Monday night, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.
Rescue teams have been working in three wreckage sites to save six people trapped in the latest quakes, Soylu told reporters in southern Hatay province, the epicenter of the quakes.
The dual earthquakes, measuring 6.4 and 5.8 magnitude respectively, come two weeks after two massive quakes rocked the same region on Feb. 6, which killed more than 41,000 across the country.
Of the latest earthquakes, the first 6.4-magnitude hit the Defne district of Hatay province at around 20:04 local time (1704 GMT), and the second 5.8-magnitude jolted three minutes later, with the epicenter in Hatay’s Samandag district, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said.
The first quake occurred 16.7 kilometers below the surface, while the second was at a depth of 7 km.
Mayor of Hatay province Lutfi Savas told the local NTV broadcaster that the latest earthquakes brought down some buildings, and some people were trapped under the debris.
“Weather is cold. Some people entered their houses which were still intact. Some went inside to get their possessions,” Savas said.
The tremor was felt in Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt, local media reported.
Reports emerging from Syria’s Aleppo and Latakia provinces, both were hard hit by the Feb. 6 earthquake, said that there is a state of panic in the two provinces with no immediate reports on losses or possible collapses.
The AFAD said on Monday that more than 6,000 aftershocks have been recorded since Feb. 6.
The massive dual quakes two weeks ago killed at least 41,156 and injured 105,505 others across 10 provinces in Türkiye.
The new quakes struck Hatay a few hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the province.
Erdogan was caught in the quake during a visit to the police department in Kahramanmaras province, the IHA news agency reported.
Erdogan examined Monday the emergency response work in the southern Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces where he pledged to revive the quake-hit region.
The government will start the construction of 45,067 houses in Kahramanmaras in March, he said, adding that their plans aim to construct 200,000 houses in 10 provinces in March alone.