Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Earthquake hits southern Turkey, causing buildings to collapse


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A strong earthquake, of magnitude 7.9, struck early this Monday (6), still Sunday night (5) in Brazil, south-central Turkey.

The epicenter was recorded in the region between the cities of Gaziantepe and Kahramanmaras, at a depth of 10 to 24 kilometers, according to the US and German geological services, which monitor phenomena of the type around the world.

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The episode took place at 4:17 am local time (22:17 in Brasília), and images published on social networks soon showed the first effects of the earthquake, with the collapse of some buildings. Broadcast by state TV network TRT showed residents taking to the streets in snow to assess the damage in some locations.

Broadcaster HaberTurk cited the destruction of property in Malatya and Diyarbakir provinces. There were also secondary earthquakes, about ten minutes after the first, with magnitudes that reached 6.7, according to the Associated Press agency.

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However, there are still no reliable reports of deaths or injuries. The American geological survey warned of the likely risk of a large number of victims. Witnesses told Reuters news agency that the tremor lasted about a minute. Reports indicate that its effects were also felt in cities in nearby countries.

In Syria, the regime reported landslides in the cities of Aleppo and Hama. In the capital, Damascus, people took to the streets in fear due to the tremor – the same happened in Beitut, Lebanon. Cities in Cyprus and Israel were also affected.

The Gaziantepe region is an important industrial center in Turkey.

Crossed by large geological faults, the country is among the most prone to tremors in the world. In 1999, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake shook the northwest city of Izmit, causing more than 17,000 deaths and leaving more than 500,000 people homeless.

In 2011, a 7.1 earthquake in Van province killed more than 600 people. In January 2020, 40 people died during a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Elazing province. Months later, in November, a new episode in Izmir claimed nearly a hundred victims and caused a mini-tsunami that flooded nearby towns and caused severe damage to the coast of Greece.

Turkey is where two tectonic plates meet — a kind of block that floats on top of the mantle, one of the layers inside the Earth.

The plates can move, divergent (moving in opposite directions), convergent (bumping against each other) and transforming (moving laterally); the last two movements often cause earthquakes.

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