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As earthquake wreaks havoc across Turkey & Syria, a timeline of major deadly earthquakes in the past two decades

Updated on: 06 February,2023 03:13 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Agencies |

At least 20 aftershocks followed, some hours later during daylight, the strongest measuring 6.6

As earthquake wreaks havoc across Turkey & Syria, a timeline of major deadly earthquakes in the past two decades

A man reacts as people search for survivors through the rubble in Diyarbakir, on February 6, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's south-east. Photo AFP

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing at least 641 people. Hundreds were still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.

On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy winter night, as buildings were flattened and strong aftershocks continued.

Also read: India stands in solidarity with Turkish people: PM Modi on earthquake in Turkey

The quake, felt as far away as Cairo, struck a region that has been shaped by more than a decade of civil war in Syria. Millions of Syrian refugees live in Turkey. The swath of Syria affected by the quake is divided between government-held territory and the country's last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. The quake was centered about 90 kilometers (60 miles) from the Syrian border outside the city of Gaziantep, a major Turkish provincial capital.

At least 20 aftershocks followed, some hours later during daylight, the strongest measuring 6.6, Turkish authorities said.

In Damascus, buildings shook and many people went down to the streets in fear. The quake jolted residents in Lebanon from beds, shaking buildings for about 40 seconds. Many residents of Beirut left their homes and took to the streets or drove in their cars away from buildings, terrorized by memories of the 2020 port explosion that wrecked a large swath of the city.

Here is a list of some of the world's most deadly earthquakes in the past two decades:

August 14, 2021 - HAITI - A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people and destroying or damaging about 13,000 homes.

September 28, 2018 - INDONESIA - A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi, resulting in a 1.5 metre tsunami and killing more than 4,300 people.

November 12, 2017 - IRAN - A magnitude 7.3 earthquake shook the eastern Kermanshah region, killing more than 400 people. At least six people died in neighbouring Iraq.

September 19, 2017 - MEXICO - A 7.1 magnitude quake hit central Mexico, killing at least 369 people and causing more devastation in the capital than any temblor since an earthquake in 1985 that killed thousands.

August 24, 2016 - ITALY - A 6.2 magnitude quake struck a cluster of mountain communities east of Rome in central Italy, killing about 300 people.

April 16, 2016 - ECUADOR - A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hammered Ecuador, killing more than 650 people on the country’s Pacific coast.

October 26, 2015 - AFGHANISTAN - A magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocked the Afghan northeast, killing nearly 400 people in the country as well as in northern Pakistan.

April 25, 2015 - NEPAL - A magnitude 7.8 earthquake ravaged impoverished Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and disrupting the lives of more than eight million.

August 3, 2014 - CHINA - A magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastated southwestern China, killing at least 600 people in a remote area of Yunnan province.

September 24, 2013 - PAKISTAN - Twin earthquakes, measuring 7.7 and 6.8 magnitude, rattled southwestern Balochistan province, killing at least 825 people.

August 11, 2012 - IRAN - Two strong quakes, measuring 6.4 magnitude and 6.3 respectively, killed at least 300 people near the city of Tabriz in northwestern Iran.

October 23, 2011 - TURKEY - A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook southeast Turkey, killing more than 600 people.

March 11, 2011 - JAPAN - A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan’s northeast, killing about 15,690 people and injuring 5,700. The earthquake also triggered the world’s biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

February 22, 2011 - NEW ZEALAND - A 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, killing at least 180 people.

February 27, 2010 - CHILE - An 8.8 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Chile killed more than 500 people, wrecking hundreds of thousands of homes and mangling highways and bridges.

January 13, 2010 - HAITI - A 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince and killed about 316,000 people. The United Nations estimated 80,000 buildings in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas were destroyed.

May 12, 2008 - CHINA - A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan province, killing about 87,600 people.

December 26, 2004 - ASIA - A 9.15 magnitude earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that barrelled into Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and many other countries in the region, devastating villages and tourist islands and leaving almost 230,000 dead or missing.

October 8, 2005 - PAKISTAN - A 7.6 magnitude quake northeast of Islamabad killed at least 73,000 people. The quake also rocked Indian Kashmir, killing 1,244 there.

December 26, 2003 - IRAN - a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit the southeastern Kerman province and flattened the city of Bam, killing 31,000 people.

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