The death toll from the magnitude 7.5 earthquakes in southeastern Turkey continued to climb on Monday morning, as rescuers scrambled to search for the injured, missing, and dead beneath the rubble of fallen buildings.
The latest count as of press time put the death toll in Turkey and Syria at over 2,300 and rising.
Reporters and amateur videographers captured scenes of terrifying destruction:
A large number of photographers were on the street to cover the aftermath of the initial earthquake, only to be caught in the equally powerful second quake with their cameras running:
By the time the second quake was over, buildings were collapsed against each other like dominoes:
The first quake occurred before sunrise in freezing cold temperatures, so most local residents were indoors. The second quake hit while rescuers were attempting to pull survivors from already-damaged buildings, putting even more lives at risk.
Syrian cities reported huge amounts of damage from the earthquake as well:
The historic Gaziantep Castle, which dates back thousands of years to the Roman Empire and has lately been used as a museum, was devastated by the earthquake:
The Turkish government claimed on Monday that the quake did not damage its vital oil pipelines to Iraq, but the Ceyhan oil terminal in southern Turkey placed an emergency halt on operations, according to shipping companies. Local Turkish energy officials also said the flow of natural gas was halted to several provinces due to damaged lines.
Video quickly spread on social media of immense fiery explosions at gas pipelines ruptured by the quake:
Later on Monday morning, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced that the Iraqi oil export pipeline from Kirkuk would be shut down until a “careful inspection of the pipelines is finalized.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday the earthquake was the worst disaster Turkey has seen since the Erzincan quake of 1939, which killed almost 33,000 people. The BBC noted a quake in northwestern Turkey in 1999 killed 17,000 people, which suggests Erdogan believes the death and damage from Monday’s disaster could prove to be worse than that.