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Magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocks Turkey-Syria border

At least three people were killed and over 200 injured in an earthquake that struck Hatay province
After the earthquakes, citizens go out to the streets in Adana, Turkey, on 20 February 2023 (Anadolu Agency)

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the border region between Turkey and Syria on Monday, just two weeks after two powerful earthquakes struck the area and killed more than 46,000 people in both countries.

The Turkish disaster management agency Afad announced that the quake hit at 20:04 local time, with the epicentre located in the Defne district of Hatay province, the same region that was struck earlier this month.

Several minutes later a second 5.8 magnitude quake centred in the Samandag area of Hatay province, Afad said, with many aftershocks taking place in various locations in southern Turkey. 

According to the latest figures, three people have been killed and 213 wounded, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. Rescue work has been ongoing in several buildings. 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Soylu were caught in the earthquake during a visit to the police department in Kahramanmaras, news agency IHA reported.

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"We received some notifications due to the earthquake in the city; we are evaluating them. Our scans are continuing," Hatay's governor, Rahmi Dogan, said. 

Hatay mayor Lutfu Savas told Turkish TV channel NTV that there were a number of collapsed buildings following the new earthquake in Antakya, Altinozu, Samandag, and Defne districts. A bridge in Antakya that was built in the 1990s also collapsed, he said. 

“There are people under the rubble. Some citizens were trying to evacuate their belongings from the buildings, others were thinking their home is secure.”

Mustafa Kemal Pasha Hospital and Iskenderun State Hospital in Antakya were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

A tsunami warning implemented earlier had been lifted, according to Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay.

Several buildings that had already been damaged from the previous earthquakes suffered further damage. In northwest Syria, there are no reports of new buildings that collapsed because of the earthquake, Reuters reported a White Helmet spokesperson as saying.

Reuters also reported that there were several injuries as a result of people quickly escaping buildings, some by jumping from higher floors.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, and Lebanon. 

Tremors could be felt inside Hatay Airport. Some people could be seen running, while others stayed put and crouched on the ground. 

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