Turkey earthquake live updates: Death toll nears 2,500 in Turkey, Syria after powerful quake

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(NEW YORK) — Nearly 2,500 people are dead after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria early Monday, according to officials.

The pre-dawn quake was centered in the town of Pazarcik in Turkey’s southeastern Kahramanmaras province and was followed by several powerful aftershocks. Thousands of buildings were toppled on both sides of the border, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched for survivors in the massive piles of rubble.

Both Turkey and Syria have declared a state of emergency.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Feb 06, 1:28 PM EST
Turkey declares seven days of mourning

Turkey has declared a seven-day mourning period in the wake of the devastating quake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our country and foreign representations,” Erdogan said.

More than 3,400 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed and over 11,000 people are hurt, according to Turkish officials.

Feb 06, 1:19 PM EST
US deploying two search and rescue teams

The U.S. is deploying two 79-person urban search and rescue teams to Turkey, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

“The president has authorized an immediate U.S. response. So right now, in addition to personnel currently on the ground, we are in the process of deploying additional teams, including two 79-person urban search and rescue teams, to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and to help address the needs of all those who have been hurt or displaced by the earthquake,” Kirby said.

Feb 06, 12:40 PM EST
Death toll nears 2,500

At least 2,494 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,651 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 11:34 AM EST
No casualties on US base

There are no known casualties among U.S. personnel assigned to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, and no major damage to facilities, a base spokesperson told ABC News.

The base is roughly 125 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter.

The 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik “is still mission operational,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Air Force is prepared to assist Turkey if called upon, according to the spokesperson.

Feb 06, 11:03 AM EST
More than 4,200 buildings destroyed

More than 2,800 buildings across Turkey have been completely destroyed, according to Turkey’s Emergency Management Agency, while over 1,400 buildings were demolished in Syria, according the Syrian Civil Defense Agency.

At least 45 nations have pledged to send volunteers and other aid to Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Feb 06, 10:45 AM EST
Death toll climbs to 2,300

At least 2,343 people have died in Turkey and Syria.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 1,500 across 10 Turkish provinces, according to the Turkish Emergency Management Agency.

In Syria, at least 843 people have been killed in three cities, according to the Syrian Health Ministry.

Feb 06, 9:54 AM EST
Biden ‘deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation’

President Joe Biden tweeted that he’s “deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation” from the earthquake.

“I have directed my team to continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkey and provide any and all needed assistance,” he tweeted.

Feb 06, 9:14 AM EST
UK deploys emergency response teams to Turkey

The United Kingdom announced Monday it is “immediately” deploying emergency response teams to Turkey to assist rescue efforts following a deadly earthquake and powerful aftershocks.

According to a press release from the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, 76 U.K. search and rescue specialists, four search dogs as well as rescue equipment will arrive in Turkey on Monday evening. A U.K. emergency medical team is also being sent to assess the situation on the ground.

“We stand ready to provide further support as needed,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

In northwestern Syria, where the quake was also felt, the U.K.-aid funded volunteer organization White Helmets has activated a significant search and rescue response and mobilized all its resources to respond to emerging needs. The U.K. government is in contact with the United Nations on emergency humanitarian support to those affected in Syria, according to the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“The British Embassy in Ankara is in close contact with the Turkish authorities to understand how we can best support those on the ground,” Jill Morris, British Ambassador-Designate to Türkiye said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the earthquakes today We pay tribute to the brave Turkish first responders working to save lives.”

The U.K. government’s announcement came on the heels of the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) declaring a “level 4 alarm” in the wake of the pre-dawn earthquake, calling for international assistance.

Feb 06, 7:25 AM EST
Monday’s quake was as powerful as the strongest ever recorded in Turkey

Monday’s deadly earthquake in Turkey, which was felt in Syria and other surrounding countries, was as strong as the most powerful one on record in Turkish history.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Turkey in 1939, killing approximately 30,000 people. Monday’s quake in southeastern Turkey had the same magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Earthquakes frequently occur in Turkey, which is situated on top of major fault lines.

Some 18,000 people were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwestern Turkey in 1999.

Feb 06, 7:02 AM EST
7.5 magnitude aftershock hits Turkey

Several hours after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey early Monday, a powerful aftershock measuring 7.5 hit the country’s Kahramanmaras province around 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Feb 06, 5:42 AM EST
Death toll jumps to over 1,200 in Turkey, Syria

Monday’s earthquake has killed at least 912 people in several Turkish provinces and injured 5,382 others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a press conference.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed, Erdogan said.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD, is deploying 1,898 search and rescue workers along with 150 vehicles in response to the deadly earthquake. Turkey’s national police force has deployed 130 tactical unit members with mobile command centers and kitchens to the city of Kahramanmaras, near the quake’s epicenter. A total of 300,000 blankets were also sent to the region, which is deep in winter weather.

Meanwhile, at least 239 people were killed and some 600 were injured in government-held areas of Syria, according to Syrian state media. In rebel-controlled areas, at least 147 people were killed, according to the Syrian civil defense and medical group that operates in opposition-held areas, known as the White Helmets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitoring group, put the overall death toll at 320.

Feb 06, 12:12 AM EST
US ‘profoundly concerned’ by ‘destructive earthquake’ in Turkey, Syria

The United States “is profoundly concerned” by the reports of the “destructive earthquake” in Turkey and Syria, and “will continue to closely monitor the situation,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement late Sunday night.

“We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” Sullivan added, noting that U.S. President Joe Biden “has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected.”

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake in Turkey at magnitude of 7.8.

-ABC News’ Lauren Minore

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