More than 3,000 dead as two massive earthquakes rock Turkey and Syria


Follow NBC News’ live coverage of the earthquakes in Turkey, Syria and the region.

A massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey on Monday, killing more than 3,000 people in the country and neighboring Syria with scores more trapped in the rubble as another huge temblor hit the region.

Residents joined rescuers to search for survivors in freezing conditions, with the death toll expected to rise as the level of destruction became clear from the initial powerful pre-dawn temblor.

The quake jolted people from their beds and shook buildings across the Middle East, with tremors felt as far away as Egypt and Israel. Just hours later, a 7.5-magnitude quake hit the same area, raising the specter of a new humanitarian crisis in a region devastated by years of conflict.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said the death toll had reached at least 1,762 people in the country alone, with more than 12,000 others injured.

In Syria, where around 4 million people had been displaced by nearly 12 years of civil war, hundreds more were crushed to death in buildings already destroyed or weakened by bombardment.

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