Istanbul: In the latest update, around 521 people have been killed and almost 3000 injured in the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and neighbouring Syria on Monday.
The death toll in Syria alone has reached 237, according to the country’s health ministry, while in Turkey, 284 people have been confirmed dead and 2,300 injured, according to Vice President Fuat Oktay.
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The quake, which was followed by a 6.7-magnitude aftershock 15 minutes later, caused severe damage to buildings in major cities across the region, including Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep in Turkey and Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus in Syria.
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged citizens to get through the disaster “as soon as possible and with the least damage,” while search and rescue operations are still ongoing in several major cities.
The quake is believed to be one of the most powerful to have hit the region in at least a century.