A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck southern Turkey on Monday, leaving more than 2,700 people dead and over 13,000 injured in the country and neighboring Syria, authorities and a civic group said, prompting many countries to offer post-disaster assistance.
According to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, 1,651 people were killed and more than 11,000 were injured in 10 provinces in the south and southeast after the first quake struck Gaziantep province, which borders Syria, at around 4:17 a.m.
In Syria, more than 570 deaths and over 1,400 injuries have been reported, according to the country's Health Ministry.
More than 480 people were reported dead and over 1,500 injured in a part of northwestern Syria where the country's opposition holds power, according to a civil cooperative.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks after the quake, "Our state has taken action with all its institutions starting from the moment of the earthquake," according to the presidential office.
In addition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, 45 countries have offered help, Erdogan said.
A building destroyed after a strong earthquake jolted southern Turkey is pictured on Feb. 6, 2023, in Malatya, Turkey. (Anadolu Agency/Getty/Kyodo)
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for international assistance to the quake-hit countries, including civil war-torn areas in Syria, telling a General Assembly session Monday that many of the affected people "were already in dire need of humanitarian aid."
In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement, "Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake."
The Japanese government on Monday sent the first members of a disaster relief team to Turkey on a search and rescue mission at Ankara's request.
Britain has sent search and rescue workers to the quake-devastated areas and Greece dispatched transport aircraft, vehicles and rescue dogs, according to media reports in the countries. The European Union will also send a multinational team of rescue workers to Turkey.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's office said he also offered essential help for Turkey and Syria on Monday.
Strong aftershocks continued to rock the region following the first quake in Turkey. The U.S. Geological Survey detected an M7.5 quake in the area at 1:24 p.m.
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