A powerful earthquake has struck south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border. This has killed 1,000’s of people as they slept and have trapped many others.
The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude tremor struck at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT) at a depth of 17.9km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.
Hours later, a second quake, which had a magnitude of 7.5, hit the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province.
So far, more than 900 people have died in Turkey and 500 in Syria.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the death toll there was now 912.
The Syrian health ministry said 371 people had died in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus.
The White Helmets rescue group, which operates in rebel-controlled areas of north-western Syria, said on Twitter that at least 147 people had died there.
Many buildings have collapsed and rescue teams have been deployed to search for survivors under huge piles of rubble.
Among the buildings destroyed was Gaziantep Castle. A historical landmark that had stood for more than 2,000 years.
The second quake, which struck at 13:24 local time (10:24 GMT), had its epicentre about 80 miles north of the original tremor. This is in the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras province.
An official from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said it was “not an aftershock”. But rather an “independent” one from the earlier quake.
At least 70 deaths had already been reported across Kahramanmaras following the first quake, while 80 people were killed in Gaziantep.
GHANAIAN FOOTBALLER CHRISTIAN ATSU TRAPPED IN RUBBLES
Multiple Turkish media outlets report that Black Stars midfielder Christian Atsu is part. Christian Atsu plays for Hatayspor and among thousands of people left under the rubble. This happened on Monday morning’s devastating earthquake in that country.
Turkish journalist, Kadir Onur, has detailed that two players of the club were pulled from the wreckage but Atsu is currently unaccounted for — together with club director Taner Savut.
Our Prayers are up with Christian Atsu.