A second large earthquake tore through Turkey and Syria less than 12 hours after the first disaster.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held a phone call with Turkey’s president just hours before another powerful earthquake rocked the country, where the death toll has climbed above 1,500.
The second major earthquake struck Turkey and Syria less than 12 hours after the initial quake toppled buildings and brought life to a standstill in both countries.
During his phone called with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the amir expressed his condolences and sympathy to the president as well as the victims of the earthquake, according to the Amiri Diwan.
Sheikh Tamim expressed Qatar’s support for Turkey to address the dire humanitarian damage left behind by the earthquakes, with the Turkish embassy in Doha confirming some 120 Qatari search and rescue personnel will be sent to the country.
In the statement provided to Doha News, the Turkish embassy expressed its appreciation of Qatar Lekhwiya’s quick response to the tragedy.
According to videos circulating online, Qatar Charity has already embarked on a rescue mission to provide urgent aid and assistance to those affected by the earthquakes.
The natural disasters of Monday are likely to go down in history as one of the strongest earthquakes to have occurred in decades. As it stands, a fast-rising death toll has surpassed 1,400 people in both Turkey and Syria.
Nearly 250 were killed in Syria after the first 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck early in the morning with the epicenter close to the city of Gaziantep.
Later on Monday, a second quake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck southeast Turkey.
“We’ve been shaken by the strongest disaster in a century,” the Turkish president said, just before the second quake, referring to the 1939 disaster that killed about 33,000 people. He said it was impossible to say what the death toll might eventually climb to.
Speaking about the 9,000 people involved in the rescue mission, Erdogan said “today is a day for 85 million to be together as one heart.”
The fatal quake was felt all the way in Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region.
More than 2,800 buildings have been collapsed in Turkey, Erdogan detailed.
Despite the fact that there were no leaks found on the pipelines supplying petroleum to the plant, Turkey cut down oil flows to the Ceyhan export terminal on the Mediterranean coast as a precaution, reports said.
Infrastructure in the impacted area connects Turkey with producers in Iraq and Azerbaijan and moves millions of barrels through it every day. According to Turkish state pipeline firm Botas, several areas of the local gas network were damaged, halting delivery to the provinces of Kahramanmaras, Hatay, and Gaziantep.
Turkey intends to resume gas flows within 48 hours, a Turkish official with firsthand knowledge of the situation indicated, according to reports.
Following the natural tragedy, the EU mobilised more than 10 search and rescue teams to assist Turkey, a spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters on Monday, reports said.
“Urban Search and Rescue teams have been quickly mobilised from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania to support the first responders on the ground,” the European Commission said in a statement.
Italy, Spain and Slovakia have offered their rescue teams to Turkey as well.
In response to the earthquake, a number of other international organisations and nations, including Qatar, Azerbaijan, the TRNC, NATO, the United States, Germany, England, India, Tel Aviv, Ukraine, Russia, and Egypt, have expressed their condolences and offered support, the Turkish embassy in Qatar detailed in a statement sent to Doha News.
The EU stated that it was also prepared to assist individuals in need in Syria, but added that it had not yet received a request from the nation to activate the EU’s civil protection mechanism, which organises aid from the EU and other European nations.
For Turkish nationals residing in the Gulf country whose relatives were impacted by the earthquake, Qatar Airways has provided an additional flight from Doha to Adana at 22:00 on Monday.