Death toll rises to 2,800 after 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocks Turkey, Syria
The earthquake struck in an area that has been torn apart by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.
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A 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday morning, killing at least 2,800 people, officials said as rescuers continue to search through the rubble of collapsed buildings.
The initial quake was felt as far away as Cairo and went 11 miles deep. More than two dozen aftershocks, including one with a 7.5 magnitude, have slammed the region Monday morning, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.
The earthquake struck in an area that has been torn apart by more than a decade of civil war in Syria, The Associated Press reported.
In Turkey, at least 1,760 people were killed and 12,000 were injured, Turkish officials said. In government-held areas of Syria, over 590 were killed and about 1,4o0 were injured, Syria's Health Ministry stated. In rebel-held areas of Syria, at least 450 people were killed, according to groups that operate in those portions of the country.
"Because the debris removal efforts are continuing in many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. "Hopefully, we will leave these disastrous days behind us in unity and solidarity as a country and a nation."
Russia said it offered to send rescuers from the Russian Emergencies Ministry to Syria and Turkey. Erdogan said he is instructing other departments in his country to accept Russia's help. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "gratefully accepted this offer, and in the next few hours, rescuers from the Russian Emergencies Ministry will fly to Syria," according to the Kremlin.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that up to 10,000 people or more may die from the earthquake and economic losses may add up to 2% of Turkey's GDP.