Panic with Turkey, Syria shook again earthquake 6.3 million

ANTAYYA, Turkey, Feb 20 (Reuters) – A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey near the Syrian border late on Monday, causing panic and further damage to buildings, two weeks after the country’s worst earthquake in modern history. It left tens of thousands dead.

Two Reuters correspondents said the tremors were strong and lasting, damaging buildings and leaving dust in the night air in the center of Antakya, where it was epicenter. Reuters correspondents said the quake was also felt in Egypt and Lebanon.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said the quake occurred at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles).

Police patrolled Antakya while ambulances rushed to the quake-hit area near the city centre. Two people fainted, while others filled the streets around Central Park making emergency calls on cellphones.

Reuters saw Turkish rescue teams running on foot after the latest quake to check on residents, most of whom were living in makeshift tents after the earthquake two weeks ago.

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Muna Al-Omar, a resident, said she was in a tent in a park in central Antakya when the earthquake struck.

“I thought the earth would open up under my feet,” she said, sobbing as she held her 7-year-old son in her arms.

“Will there be another aftershock?” she asked.

The two major earthquakes on Feb. 6, which also shook neighboring Syria, displaced more than a million people and killed far more than the latest official toll of 46,000 in both countries.

Smaller quakes have rocked the region in the past two weeks, but Monday’s quake was the biggest since Feb. 6.

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“It was very strong. It shook us out of our places,” said Burhan Abdel Rahman, who was emerging from his tent in a camp in the city center of Antakya when the quake struck.

“I called relatives in Syria, Adana, Mersin, Izmir, everywhere to check on them.”

Turkey’s Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) urged residents to stay away from the Mediterranean coast due to the possibility of a 50-centimeter rise in the water level due to the quake.

Videos circulating on social media that were not verified by Reuters showed passengers at Antakya Airport taking cover in panic as the quake struck the glass building.

Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara. Written by Parisa Hafezi. Editing by Mark Heinrichs, Alexander Smith and Jonathan Spicer

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