Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) has put the death toll of powerful earthquakes that hit Turkey earlier this month at more than 42,000, the TR24 news website reported.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep — home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria — as people were sleeping on Feb. 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a magnitude 7.5 temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.
AFAD said a total of 42,310 people died in Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Adana, Adıyaman, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya and Elazığ provinces in the earthquakes. The agency also said 448,018 people have been evacuated from the earthquake zone.
The earthquakes also demolished buildings in northwest Syria and killed more than 4,500 people there.
The death toll is expected to rise in the coming days as new bodies are discovered during the removal of rubble of flattened buildings.
Hatay was also hit by two other earthquakes on Monday evening, registering 6.4. and 5.8, which claimed the lives of six more people who died when previously damaged buildings collapsed.
More than 17,000 people died when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey’s Marmara region in 1999.
Before the Feb. 6 earthquake, another quake, with a magnitude of 7.8, that hit the eastern province of Erzincan in 1939 was the deadliest temblor in Turkey’s modern history, leading to the death of more than 33,000 people.