Turkey earthquake: 6.3-magnitude aftershock, 2 weeks after massive quake kills thousands

Antakya, Turkey (CNN) An aftershock with a magnitude of 6.3 hit southern Turkey on Monday. killed at least three people and injured hundreds more, according to Turkish and Syrian officials, two weeks after a massive earthquake killed tens of thousands of people in both countries.

The earthquake hit Turkey’s southern Hatay province, near the Syrian border, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) said on Monday.

The earthquake’s epicenter was in the province’s Defne district, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Monday, adding that there have been 26 aftershocks since.

Turkish officials say at least three people were killed and 294 injured in Monday’s aftershocks.

In the city of Antakya in the country’s southern Hatay province, three men were trapped when a building that had survived the first quake two weeks ago collapsed, according to their relative, Yahya Hallak.

Rescue workers sleep on rubble in Antakya, Turkey, where their colleagues try to rescue three men trapped inside a collapsed building.

Hundreds of rescuers worked in the early hours of Tuesday morning to try to reach the men, some sleeping on rubble next to fires to stay warm, while others braved freezing conditions to move heavy rubble.

In northwestern Syria, more than 130 people were injured in Monday’s quake, which caused a number of other buildings to collapse, the White Helmets volunteer rescue group said.

“Our teams are working to take the injured to hospital, inspect the affected villages and towns and remove rubble to open the roads for the ambulances,” the White Helmets said.

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The United States Geological Survey (USGS) initially reported the quake as having a magnitude of 6.4 at a depth of 10 kilometers before revising it down to a magnitude of 6.3.

Officials have urged the public to stay away from buildings. Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay earlier on Monday asked the public “not to enter the damaged buildings, especially to take their belongings.”

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that 18 of the injured are in serious condition and were taken to Adana and Dörtyol. Field hospitals continue to provide services to other patients, he said.

“I wish our injured, patients, local people and all the people of our country to recover soon. May Allah ease our pain with health and well-being, and protect us from new pains and worries,” Koca said.

The mayor of Samandag, near where the earthquake struck, said some buildings had collapsed and the mood was one of panic after the AFAD warning.

CNN crews in Adana, Turkey felt the quake, as did eyewitnesses in Gaziantep and Mersin.

Monday’s quake follows a deadly 7.8-magnitude quake on February 6 that killed more than 46,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

A father sits with his children as they seek shelter outside in Antakya in Turkey’s Hatay province on Monday.

Families affected by the earthquake two weeks ago told CNN about the terror caused by Monday’s tremors.

“We went back to our house and this shock happened again and we went out… may God help us,” said Zahir, who lives in a town between the cities of Iskenderun and Antakia, in Turkey’s Hatay province.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do today – today we stay in the car and in the tent, we don’t know what will happen until tomorrow,” he told CNN.

People react after an earthquake in Antakya.

On Sunday, Turkey’s disaster management authority said it had ended most search and rescue operations nearly two weeks after the earthquake struck, as experts say the chances of survival for people trapped in the rubble this far into the disaster are unlikely.

Some efforts remain in the provinces of Kahramanmaraş and Hatay. On Saturday, a couple and their 12-year-old child were rescued in Hatay, 296 hours after the earthquake, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Efforts to retrieve survivors have been hampered by a cold winter in earthquake-hit areas, while authorities grapple with the logistical challenges of transporting aid into northwestern Syria amid an acute humanitarian crisis compounded by years of political strife.

Turkey is no stranger to strong earthquakes, as it lies along tectonic plate boundaries. Seven earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher have struck the country in the past 25 years – but the one on February 6 was the most powerful and deadliest.

Monday’s quake is considered an aftershock as it is in the same general region and lower than the original 7.8 quake.

According to the USGS, “aftershocks become less frequent with time, although they can continue for days, weeks, months, or even years for a very large mainshock.”

This story has been updated with new information from the USGS.

CNN’s Kareen Khadder and Taylor Ward contributed to this report.

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