A magnitude 7.8 earthquake kills up to 5,000 people across Turkey and Syria

The most powerful earthquake in nearly a century struck Turkey and Syria on Monday morning (afternoon AEDT), levelling buildings and causing tremors felt as far away as Greenland. It was quickly followed by a powerful 7.6 quake and dozens of after-shocks that wiped out entire sections of major Turkish cities in a region filled with millions who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.

What did Jesus tell us would be the signs prior to His second coming?

Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?Matthew 24:3

“There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences.” Luke 21:11

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.Matthew 24:7

“A national mourning period has been declared for seven days. Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our national and foreign representative offices,” Mr Erdogan said in a tweet.

The earthquake’s epicentre was 11 miles (17.6km) below ground between the cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep in southwest Turkey. It struck at 4.17am local time as many victims were asleep. For those whose houses and apartments were brought down immediately, there was little chance to escape.

Gaziantep has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the country in the past three decades, an economic hub of two million people for a developing region that has become home to millions of refugees from the war in nearby Syria.

There were fears about the quality of construction in the thousands of new apartment blocks built in the 1990s and early 2000s to host the new population. “Panic is everywhere and the number of victims is rising. So many buildings have collapsed,” Ahmed al-Mohammed, a Syrian living in the city, said.

After a major earthquake in Turkey in 1999 building standards improved, and the destruction in Gaziantep could have been worse. By contrast, in older cities across southern Turkey the situation was catastrophic. The government estimated that 3,400 buildings had been destroyed.

In Kahramanmaras, Iskenderun, Osmaniye, and Antakya – historic Antioch – whole neighborhoods were flattened. Deaths were reported more than 200 miles away in Diyarbakir, the main city of Kurdish southeast Turkey. Across the border in Syria, cities that had been pulverised by bombing in the civil war were partially levelled again.

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