Six people were killed and 294 injured, 18 of which were seriously wounded, in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay after a new 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the region on Monday evening at 20:04 local time, according to the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
Hatay was one of the provinces to suffer mass destruction in the quakes on 6 February. A number of buildings in Hatay, already damaged by the powerful tremors two weeks ago, collapsed in Monday’s tremor and several people were trapped under the rubble. Search and rescue efforts continued into the morning.
“Citizens without tents had to enter their homes. There is no point in leaving people to die like this,” told Refik Eryılmaz, the Mayor of the Samandağ district of the province to NTV, calling on the authorities to meet the need for tents in the region.
Tent aid is still inadequate and there is still a lack of water and electricity in some districts in Hatay, and in other provinces affected by the 6 February earthquakes. Survivors spend their nights on the streets, while the cold weather makes the lack of shelter more dangerous. Those who died or were injured in Monday’s earthquake were those who were forced to stay in their homes due to lack of temporary safe housing, and those who entered their homes to gather resources, according to reports from the region.
President Tayyip Erdoğan, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and the government’s far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli were caught in the earthquake at a meeting at the AFAD coordination centre in Kahramanmaraş (Mereş).
Erdoğan left the disaster zone after the earthquake tremors were felt in Kahramanmaraş.
Mustafa Kemal University Hospital, which is the only remaining hospital to continue serving patients in Antakya after 6 February, was evacuated as a precaution after the quakes. Intensive-care patients were transferred to the field hospital, and those with milder conditions are taken to the hospital garden.
The tremor severely damaged the Hatay Governorship’s office in the Antakya district and rendered the building unusable.
Haluk Levent, the founder of the charity organisation AHBAP that delivered aid the disaster zone, said that five damaged buildings collapsed in the Samandağ district of Hatay. The total number of buildings that collapsed on Monday is not known.
Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum had said on 12 February that earthquake survivors could stay in their homes that were found to be undamaged or slightly damaged.