Damaged buildings collapse after fresh quake in eastern Turkiye

ISTANBUL (AFP): A 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkiye on Monday, causing some buildings already damaged by a powerful tremor earlier this month to collapse, the government’s disaster agency said.

The epicenter of the tremor was the Yesilyurt district in the Malatya province, which was hit by the February 6 earthquake that killed over 44,000 people in Turkiye and thousands more in neighboring Syria.

“After the 5.6 magnitude earthquake… it was found as a result of the field scanning studies that there were destroyed buildings,” AFAD disaster agency tweeted.

“Our search and rescue teams were quickly dispatched to the region, and started to work,” it added.

The local mayor, Mehmet Cinar, said he guided teams urgently to check whether there was anyone trapped under rubble.

“God willing, there’s no loss of life,” Cinar told Haber Turk television.

Turkish authorities have expanded a criminal probe into individuals responsible for buildings levelled by the deadly earthquake that left millions without homes.

AFAD recorded almost 10,000 aftershocks after the February 6 quake. Some 173,000 buildings are believed to have sustained damage according to local media reports.

Turkish media has vocally criticized developers for using shoddy materials and failing to comply with construction codes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced plans to rebuild 270,000 homes in the devastated provinces within one year.