A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southeast Turkey early Monday as people slept, with the waves felt hundreds of kilometers away, as far as Cairo and Cyprus. The earthquake, which continued for approximately one minute, rocked the city, toppling hundreds of buildings. Videos that were later uploaded showed people running around in the darkness surrounded by clouds of dust and flattened buildings.
A second 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the region just hours after the first quake, destroying buildings and infrastructure that were already weakened by the initial event. In total, nearly 3,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey, including a hospital in the city of Iskanderoun.
Rescue workers have been working around the clock, searching mounts of wreckage across the cities and towns, as hundreds are believed to be trapped under rubble. To make matters worse, temperatures fell close to freezing, which worsened the conditions for those who are waiting for help or are left homeless.
Fortunately, the country’s Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which was under construction at the time, has not been damaged by the quake.
More than ten different search and rescue teams have also been mobilized in the wake of the earthquake. The United States, Canada, the UK, China, Russia, and Israel, have also offered assistance.
So far, more than 13,000 have been injured in the devastating earthquake. Emergency services have rescued over 7,300 people and the number of deaths has exceeded 3,800. The number is expected to climb as rescue workers continue to search through rubble across the area.