Fear of aftershocks in debris-strewn Syria, Turkiyye
At a hospital in northwest Syria, Osama Abdel Hamid was holding back tears as he recalled on Monday the massive earthquake that toppled his home just hours earlier.
Abdel Hamid, who was receiving treatment for a head injury at Al-Rahma hospital in Idlib province, told AFP, “We were fast asleep when we felt a huge earthquake.”
More than 1,200 people were killed in their sleep by the 7.8-magnitude pre-dawn quake, whose epicenter was near the Turkiye city of Gaziantep. It destroyed entire sections of cities in Turkiye and war-ravaged Syria.
“I woke up my wife and children and we ran towards the exit door,” the man stated after it shook the home of the Abdel Hamid family in the village of Azmarin, close to the border between Turkey and Syria.
“We opened the door, and all of a sudden the building fell down.”
Abdel Hamid quickly found himself buried beneath the four-story building’s debris.
The family made it out alive, though all of his neighbors perished.
Abdel Hamid stated, “My son was able to escape as the walls collapsed over us.” Because they were aware that there were survivors, they gathered around and pulled us out of the rubble after he started screaming.
They were transported to the hospital in Darkush, a town a few kilometers (miles) south of the Turkiye border.
Soon, the facility had to take in a lot more patients than it could handle, and it also got at least 30 dead bodies.
An AFP photographer observed a steady stream of ambulances carrying victims, many of whom were children, to Al-Rahma.
Majid Ibrahim, the general surgeon at the hospital, said, “The situation is bad.” By late morning, 150 people who had been injured in the earthquake had arrived there.
According to what he told AFP, “a lot of people are still under the debris of the buildings.”
We require immediate assistance for the region, particularly medical assistance.
Each ambulance brought a victim, often a child, to the al-Rahma hospital one after the other.
Many “still trapped” According to the Syrian government and rescue workers, at least 592 people were killed throughout the war-ravaged nation.
According to the health ministry, at least 371 people were killed and 1,089 were injured in government-controlled areas, according to SANA, the official news agency.
At least 221 people were killed and 419 were injured in rebel-held areas, according to the White Helmets rescue group. The group also warned that “the toll may increase as many families are still trapped.”
Injured individuals were lying on beds in one crowded hospital room, some with bandages covering their heads and others receiving treatment for bruises and fractures.
A boy with a bandage covering his head was sleeping next to another patient on one of the beds.
In Syria, a boy with earthquake injuries lies on a hospital bed.
A young girl was crying in another room as she received an injection and had her hand in a cast.
A broken leg was being treated for 24-year-old Mohammad Barakat.
The father of four, lying in bed with wounds covering parts of his face, recalled, “I took my children and got out of the house.”
He told AFP, “My house is old, and the construction is very old.”
So I started to worry that it might fall on us. When we were out in the street, the houses around us began to crumble.
Worse than war, according to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake struck at a depth of approximately 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) near Gaziantep in the southeast of Turkiye at 04:17 a.m. (0117 GMT).
According to AFP correspondents, tremors were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.
A block of buildings had been demolished in the Idlib province town of Sarmada in the countryside. Over the ruins, mattresses and blankets, solar panels, water tanks, and other items were scattered.
In the hope of locating survivors, rescue workers began to clear the debris and large chunks of concrete, as captured by an AFP photographer.
Soon, the Al-Rahma hospital in the Idlib province of Syria became overcrowded, taking in far more patients than it could handle.
Anas Habbash claimed that he “ran down the stairs like crazy” while escorting his pregnant wife and son out of the apartment building in Aleppo, a northern city.
The 37-year-old told AFP, “Once we got to the street, we saw dozens of families in shock and fear.”
Some people knelt to pray, while others started crying “as if it were the day of judgment.”
According to Habbash, “I haven’t had that feeling all through the years of the war” in Syria since 2011.
“This was a lot harder than using shells and bullets.”