A second earthquake has struck Turkey just hours after the first mammoth tremor which has killed at least 2,800 people across the region.
The second quake hit the Elbistan district in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale. This is around 80 miles north of Gaziantep, a city near to the epicentre of the first earthquake.
At least 20 aftershocks followed with the strongest measuring 6.6, Turkish authorities said, however officials said that the Elbistan earquake was “not an aftershock” and was independent from the first earthquake.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) and US Geological Survey are both reporting a second quake, and said it was "not an aftershock". The EMSC said the latest earthquake struck around 100km to the north of this morning’s quake, and was followed 12 minutes later by a strong magnitude 6 aftershock. It said: “Again, it is an exceptionally difficult situation for populations. A major assistance will be required.”
It is believed that more than 2,800 people have died in Turkey and Syria. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a seven day period of mourning following the quakes.
The death toll is expected to rise further as hundreds of people are still believed to be trapped under rubble as rescue workers continue to search in cities and towns across the area.
Buildings were flattened in the Turkish city of Adana, while further east in Diyarbakir, cranes and rescue teams rushed people on stretchers out of a mountain of pancaked concrete floors that was once an apartment building.
On the Syrian side of the border, the first quake smashed opposition-held regions packed with some four million people who were displaced from other parts of Syria by the country’s long civil war. Raed Salah, the head of the White Helmets, the emergency organisation in opposition areas, said whole neighbourhoods were collapsed in some areas. The earthquake, which was felt as far away as Cairo, struck a region that has been shaped by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.
Millions of Syrian refugees live in Turkey and the swath of Syria affected by the quake is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake. He wrote: “We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage”.