Sri Lanka has contacted the Foreign Minister of Turkey to extend assistance in search and rescue efforts following the deadly earthquake in south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border.
The death toll from a strong earthquake in south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, has exceeded 2,300 people across both countries.
Turkey’s disaster agency said more than 1,500 people died there, while it is estimated that 810 people died in Syria.
On the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry contacted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and offered assistance for search and rescue efforts.
Minister Sabry said Sri Lanka recalls when the Tsunami struck in 2004, Turkey provided immediate humanitarian assistance and built a housing complex for those who lost houses.
Sri Lanka also expressed shock at learning of the loss of lives and damage to property from the destructive earthquake.
The Sri Lanka government said it stands in solidarity with the people of Syria and thoughts and prayers are with those affected.
The death toll and injuries are expected to rise as rescuers comb through mountains of rubble in freezing, snowy weather.
It is Turkey’s worst disaster in decades, the country’s president said.
The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude tremor struck at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT) at a depth of 17.9km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.
Seismologists said the first quake was one of the largest ever recorded in Turkey. Survivors said it took two minutes for the shaking to stop.
Twelve hours later, a second quake was triggered with a magnitude of 7.5, with its epicentre in the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province.
An official from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said it was “not an aftershock” and was “independent” from the earlier quake.
Turkey lies in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday’s disaster was the worst the country had seen since 1939, when the Erzincan earthquake in eastern Turkey killed nearly 33,000 people.