Massive 7.8 quake kills over 2,500 – Kuwait offers condolences.

A powerful, 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing more than 2,500 people and injuring thousands more as it toppled hundreds of buildings and trapped residents under mounds of rubble or pancaked floors. Authorities feared the death toll would rise further as rescuers searched through tangles of metal and concrete for survivors in a region beset by more than a decade of Syria’s civil war and a refugee crisis.

Civil defense workers and residents search through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Harem near the Turkish border, Idlib province, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023.

In Kuwait, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences Monday to the President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing sorrow over the recent earthquake that caused causalities and property damages. In the cable, His Highness the Amir expressed condolences to the Turkish President and the victims’ families, wishing speedy recovery for those injured.

Upon orders by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, a decree was issued on Monday to dispatch aid and medical equipment through airplanes to be sent to Turkiye in response to the devastating earthquake that hit the southern part of the country. As part of the helping efforts, teams from the foreign ministry, Fire Department, Kuwait Red Crescent, health ministry, and Kuwait army will participate in this regard.

His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also sent a cable of condolences Monday to President Erdogan, expressing sorrow over the recent earthquake that caused causalities and property damages. In the cable, His Highness the Crown Prince expressed condolences to the Turkish President and the victims’ families, wishing speedy recovery for those injured. Parliament Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun sent a cable of condolences Monday to the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop, expressing deep sorrow over the recent earthquake south of the country that caused causalities and property damages.

In his cable, Al-Saadoun also expressed condolences to the victims’ families, wishing speedy recovery for those injured. A cable of condolences was also sent by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al- Ahmad Al-Sabah to the President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah expressed on Monday, on behalf of the country, concern for the recent earthquakes that hit Syria and Southern Turkey as thousands of casualties have been affected and the aftershock reverberations of the impact settle.

In a press release, Sheikh Salem presented Kuwait’s grieve concerns towards the families affected and hoped a quick recovery as further rescue operations are underway to uncover some of the missing casualties. Under these circumstances, a decree was issued by the nation’s political leadership to operate a designated airplane to help extract Kuwaiti nationals currently located in those areas while the Foreign Ministry is keeping a close eye on the situation through its offices in Ankara and Istanbul. Meanwhile, the Kuwait Embassy in Turkiye urged Kuwaitis in the Turkish southern governorates to take caution and adhere to the instructions issued by the official authorities, following the earthquake that struck the Kahramatmaras governorate earlier today. The Embassy also went on encouraging the Kuwaiti citizens to contact the embassy or with the Consulate General in Istanbul when necessary on the following numbers: 00905331648479, 00905306902097.

Residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside in the rain and snow to escape falling debris, while those who were trapped cried for help. Major aftershocks, including one nearly as strong as the initial quake, continued to rattle the region. “I don’t have the strength anymore,” one survivor could be heard calling out from beneath the rubble in the Turkish city of Adana, as rescue workers tried to reach him, said a resident, journalism student Muhammet Fatih Yavuz. He said three buildings near his home were toppled. The quake, which was centered on Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, sent residents of Damascus rushing into the street and was felt as far away as Cairo and Beirut.

“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. The quake piled more misery on a region that has seen tremendous suffering over the past decade. On the Syrian side, the area affected is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition- held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian backed government forces. Turkey, meanwhile, is home to millions of refugees from the civil war.

Source- Arab Times.

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