Moderate earthquake hit off coast of Lebanon hour before powerful quake hit Turkey & Syria

AP , Ahram Online , Monday 6 Feb 2023

A moderate earthquake hit the sea between Lebanon and Cyprus at around 3am local time in Lebanon forcing some residents in Lebanon to evacuate their homes an hour before a powerful earthquake killed hundreds in southeast Turkey and northern Syria.

Earthquake map
Earthquake map of the seismic activity released by Turkey's deadly quake one hour after a similar earthquake hit off the shore of Lebanon. This map is courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey


The 4.8 magnitude quake took place 160 kilometres off the Lebanese coast, the National Centre for Geophysics, in Bhannes, Lebanon, reported.

Footage from a grocery store in Lebanon showed products splattered across the floor after the tremors were felt for about 40 seconds, reports said.

The Lebanese interior ministry refuted rumours circulating online that buildings were damaged, saying footage purporting to show damage originated in Syria and not Lebanon, Al Arabiya reported.

“I was sleeping, and I felt the bed shaking at around 3:30am and the chandelier was moving back and forth,” one Lebanese citizen, Iman, told Al Arabiya English.

“I was so scared because it went on for a while,” she said, adding that the stormy weather that Lebanon was currently experiencing worsened the experience.

“It was so scary and it lasted for a while,” Jenan told Al Arabiya English, while another, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she “woke up feeling that the whole world was shaking.”

The quake was eclipsed by the more powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked southeastern Turkey and northern Syria toppling hundreds of buildings and killing more than 1,500 people.

The earthquake centered north of the city of Gaziantep – 90 kilometres away from the Syrian border – was felt across neighboring countries; Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, according to media reports.

People living in cities on both sides of the border were jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake and rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy night. Buildings were reduced to piles of pancaked floors, as major aftershocks, some nearly as strong as the first, continued.

Rescue workers and residents in multiple cities searched for survivors, working through tangles of metal and concrete.

A hospital in Turkey collapsed, and patients, including newborns, were evacuated from facilities in Syria.

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