Fresh Earthquake Strikes Turkey, Killing 3

Another earthquake struck the border region of Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing at least three people and coming two weeks after the area was devastated by a massive quake that left nearly 45,000 people dead.

Monday’s earthquake had a magnitude of 6.4 and centered in the town of Defne, in Turkey’s Hatay province, an area that was severely damaged by the February 6 quake.

The new quake was felt in multiple countries, including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, and was followed by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said three people were killed and more than 200 others were injured.

“All of a sudden, the building shook. I immediately ran downstairs from the second floor. It shook terribly. It’s very sad,” Gaziantep resident Ahmet Kilic told VOA’s Turkish Service.

He said he was afraid to return to his house because he lives alone.

Another Gaziantep resident, Zeynep Deveci, told VOA he had just returned to his home following the February 6 quake.

“Yesterday I came back, and today we are on the street again. We don’t know what our end will be.”

Rescue workers were searching in several collapsed buildings in Hatay where people were believed to be trapped.

Syria’s state news agency, SANA, reported that six people were injured in Aleppo.

Also Monday, a U.N. convoy carrying relief supplies made its way through a newly opened border crossing into Syria at Al-Ra’ee.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said there are now three fully operating border crossings for the United Nations to enter Syria.

He said the U.N. has now dispatched 227 trucks to rebel-held areas in northwest Syria and said preparations are underway to send more trucks through all three border crossings.

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Hatay earlier on Monday and said his government would begin next month to construct nearly 200,000 new homes in the province.

Also Monday, Erdogan met in Ankara with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who a day earlier announced U.S. pledges of $100 million in additional aid for Turkey and Syria.

The new aid brings the total U.S. assistance to $185 million and will be provided to international and nongovernmental groups that have been involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.

“The United States is here to support you in your time of need, and we will be by your side as long as it takes to recover and rebuild,” Blinken told reporters Monday during a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters. VOA’s Turkish Service and United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

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