A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday morning followed by a second powerful earthquake hours later, killing over 1,500 and injuring thousands more. Shliach Rabbi Mendy Chitrik is reported safe.
At least 1,500 people have died across Turkey and Syria, after a huge 7.8 magnitude earthquake swept across southern Turkey early Monday, injuring thousands more people in both countries.
The powerful earthquake centered in Turkey rocked the region awake early Monday morning, including large swaths of Israel – Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv included.
On Monday afternoon, a second, 7.5-magnitude earthquake was reported in Turkey. Some two dozen aftershocks have been reported since the initial quake.
Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, spoke to shliach Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi community and the shliach in the country, who said that he is in the area of the quake in order to closely monitor rescue work.
Rabbi Chitrik told Rabbi Lau that members of the Jewish community are safe and that the last Jew who was under a collapsed building was rescued from the ruins. They are now primarily dealing with power cuts and the lack of telephone service.
The death toll in both countries rose Monday afternoon to a total of 1,500, including at least 912 in Turkey and 560 in Syria. Over 5,400 people have been reported injured in Turkey, with roughly 1,500 people reported injured in Syria.
Hundreds of additional victims are believed to be trapped under the rubble of toppled buildings.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel will send emergency aid to Turkey. Israel will also send aid to Syria, which is officially in a state of war.
“Because the debris removal efforts are continuing in many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “Hopefully, we will leave these disastrous days behind us in unity and solidarity as a country and a nation.”