On Monday, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the border region of Turkey and Syria, just two weeks after the area was hit by a larger earthquake that resulted in over 47,000 deaths and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes.
The epicenter of Monday’s earthquake was near the southern Turkish city of Antakya, and it was felt in Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon. The quake struck at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).
Reports suggest that some people are stuck under rubble, and three people have been confirmed dead while over 200 are injured. In Samandag, where one person was reported dead, more buildings collapsed, but most of the town had already fled after the initial earthquakes.
Mounds of debris and discarded furniture lined the dark, abandoned streets. The death toll from the previous earthquakes has risen to 41,156 in Turkey, and it is expected to increase further, with 385,000 apartments known to have been destroyed or seriously damaged, and many people still missing.
Construction work on almost 200,000 apartments in 11 earthquake-hit provinces of Turkey is set to begin next month, according to President Tayyip Erdogan. The United States has extended a total of $185 million in humanitarian aid to support the earthquake response in Turkey and Syria.
Among the survivors are about 356,000 pregnant women who urgently need access to health services, according to the U.N. sexual and reproductive health agency. These women include 226,000 in Turkey and 130,000 in Syria, with around 38,800 expected to deliver within the next month. Many of them are living in camps or exposed to freezing temperatures and struggling to get food or clean water.
In Syria, where more than a decade of civil war has left the country shattered, most deaths have occurred in the northwest, where 4,525 people have been killed. The area is controlled by insurgents at war with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, making aid efforts complicated.
The World Food Programme and the Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have both been working to assist in rescue operations, while the United Nations has been pressuring authorities in the region to stop blocking access for aid from Syrian government-controlled areas.
At the Turkish Cilvegozu border crossing, hundreds of Syrians lined up on Monday to cross over and return to their homes in northwest Syria to get in touch with affected relatives.