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Church of Virgin Mary in Hatay suffers further damage in fresh quakes

The historic Church of the Virgin Mary, located in Türkiye’s southernmost Hatay province, has suffered extensive new damage in Monday’s two earthquakes, two weeks after major quakes jolted the region.

The damage to the outer walls of the church from the twin quakes that jolted southern Türkiye was exacerbated by Monday’s quakes, both of which were centred in Hatay, unlike the quakes two weeks ago. 

The Orthodox church, used by local Turkish citizens of Armenian origin, is reportedly some 700 years old.

Local authorities closed the church for worship after the February 6 earthquakes, Berc Kartun, headman of the town of Vakifli, said.

“The church was almost completely destroyed in the latest earthquake. It is now unusable. Its outer walls have fallen. There’s a lot of damage inside. Worship isn’t allowed in the church at the moment. It is impossible to enter the building,” said Kartun.

World’s first cathedral in Hatay, Türkiye still intact after major quakes

New quakes

At least six people were killed and 294 others wounded when two smaller earthquakes, magnitudes 6.4 and 5.8, jolted Türkiye’s southernmost Hatay province on Monday evening, the country’s disaster agency AFAD said.

The Hatay-centered quakes came just two weeks after the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes centred in Kahramanmaras.

The powerful twin quakes struck 10 other provinces on Feb. 6 – Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, and Elazig.

More than 13 million people have been affected by the disaster, with the death toll now above 42,000, according to the latest official figures.

Powerful aftershock or new tremblor? New Türkiye quake raises questions

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