The earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale on the border between Turkey and Syria has already left hundreds dead and thousands injured. The joint death toll now amounts to more than 3,600 deaths: 2,316 people in Turkey and 1,293 in Syria. The images that arrive from the affected area show great destruction with dozens of tall buildings reduced to rubble and rescue teams working against the clock.
The epicenter has been recorded 33 km south of the Turkish city of Gaziantep and has been noted in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Cyprus.
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Authority has sent its teams to the area and says that there are at least 10 cities affected, raises the alarm level to 4 and calls for international help. The first response comes from the European Union Emergency Response Coordination Center and teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already heading to the affected areas.
Turkey is a country accustomed to living under seismic threat and the first balance of damage shows 1,718 affected buildings, 900 of them in the provinces of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras. The president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announces that he will arrive in the disaster area in the next few hours.
Bad weather makes rescue work difficult and from cities like Istanbul and Ankara flights to the East are cut off due to the storm. The Gaziantep and Hatay airports have had to stop operations due to damage to the runways.
From the Turkish side, operations are followed almost to the minute, but it is more complicated to know what is happening in northern Syria. From Damascus they raise the dead to 320, what happens is that one of the affected provinces is Idlib and it is outside the control of the regime. Idlib is ruled by the Syrian arm of al Qaeda and is home to millions of Syrians displaced during the war.