ISLAMABAD: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake on early Monday jolted southern Turkiye and northwest Syria, killing over 2600 people in their sleep, levelling buildings and causing tremors felt as far away as Greenland, news agencies and Al Jazeera reported.
At least 968 people killed in rebel and government-controlled parts of Syria, state media and medical sources said whereas 1651 people killed in Turkey.
Rescue workers and residents frantically searched for survivors under the rubble of buildings in multiple cities on both sides of the border.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will observe seven days of national mourning for the victims of Monday’s earthquake.
“A national mourning period has been declared for seven days. Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our national and foreign representative offices,” Erdogan said in a tweet.
World leaders pledged to send aid after Turkey issued an international appeal for help.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered the dispatch of aid to the two earthquake hit countries.
The quake, felt as far away as Cairo, was centred north of the city of Gaziantep in an area about 95km (60 miles) from the Syrian border.
Authorities said 16 structures collapsed in Sanliurfa and 34 in Osmaniye. Broadcasters TRT and Haberturk showed footage of people picking through building wreckage, moving stretchers and seeking survivors in the city of Kahramanmaras, where it was still dark.