2nd earthquake with magnitude of 7.6 hits southern Turkey again this afternoon, death toll from first earthquake rises to over 2,300 (Updated: 1.30pm)

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6th February 2023 – (Istanbul) Two earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.8 and 7.6 on the Richter scale occurred respectively in the early morning and afternoon today (6th) in southern Turkey. Some residents said they felt violent vibrations that lasted for more than two minutes. People in Syria, Jordan, Israel and other countries in the Middle East also felt the earthquake.

An aerial view of debris of a collapsed buildings in Hatay, Turkey [Erçin Ertürk/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey’s AFAP emergency authority and the United States Geological Service have reported a new 7.6-magnitude earthquake in southeast Turkey this afternoon. The shallow quake hit at 1.24pm (1024 GMT) four kilometres (2.5 miles) south-southeast of the town of Ekinozu.

As of 11pm Hong Kong time today, at least 1,498 deaths are reported in Turkey, with another 783 in Syria. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) announced that its emergency teams are on standby to be deployed to Turkey and Syria.

Meanwhile, residents in the Iraqi provinces of Dohuk and Mosul and the Kurdish capital Erbil have also experienced mild tremors. Syrian state media also reported a separate earthquake had hit the capital Damascus, but gave no further details. In addition, the European Union has said ten search and rescue teams have been mobilised to help the emergency operations in Turkey.

The Turkish government issued a statement requesting international assistance. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the United States is deeply concerned about the disaster, and President Biden has instructed the United States Agency for International Development to evaluate ways to provide assistance.

In response to the earthquakes, the airport in the southern Turkish province of Adana was closed for flights until further notice.

The Gaziantep castle, which dates back to the Hittite Empire, and was later expanded under the Roman empire, has been damaged in the earthquake. Video posted by local media showed parts of the castle collapsed, with some debris reportedly tumbling down to the road below.