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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

New earthquake strikes Turkey, rattling an already devastated region

By Ben Hubbard and Gulsin Harman

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday, killing at least one person and trapping others in collapsed buildings three weeks after a devastating quake struck the same region, leaving more than 50,000 people dead in the country and in neighboring Syria.

The latest quake struck just after noon Monday, south of the city of Malatya, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Malatya is the capital of the province of the same name, one of 11 Turkish regions affected by the Feb. 6 tremor.

Yunus Sezer, the head of Turkey’s emergency response agency, said at least one person had been killed and 69 injured in the latest quake. He urged people in the affected region not to enter damaged buildings for fear of aftershocks or further collapses. The agency said 29 buildings in Malatya had collapsed and five people had been rescued from the rubble. Rescuers were also searching for survivors from seven other buildings.

One previously damaged building collapsed, trapping in the rubble a father and daughter who had returned to their apartment to collect their belongings in the town of Yesilyurt, near the new quake’s epicenter, according to Haberturk TV, which was broadcasting from the scene. Both father and daughter were later rescued.

In the town of Dulkadiroglu, in the hard-hit province of Kahramanmaras, six workers who had returned to their metal workshop to retrieve kitchenwares were still inside when the quake hit, according to Haberturk. One of the men was killed, four others were injured and one escaped unscathed.

The temblor Monday was the latest to shake the fault-crossed region since the powerful 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6, which was followed by a powerful aftershock hours later. The original earthquake and aftershock ravaged the region, toppling more than 100,000 buildings and leaving more than 1 million people homeless in Turkey alone.

The quake also devastated communities across the border in Syria, striking an area where 12 years of civil war had already damaged many buildings and where millions of displaced people had already been living in a humanitarian crisis.

The overall death toll has climbed steadily over the past three weeks, surpassing 50,000 in Syria and Turkey by Monday. Turkey, where the original earthquake was centered, has reported 44,374 deaths and the toll in Syria is at least 6,000, according to the United Nations.

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