Antakya, Turkey (CNN) An aftershock of magnitude 6.3 hit southern Turkey on Monday, At least three people were killed and hundreds more injured, according to Turkish and Syrian officials. Two weeks after a massive earthquake that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people in both countries.
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) said today, Monday, that the earthquake struck the Hatay province in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border.
On Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that the epicenter of the quake was in the province’s Defne district, adding that there have been 26 aftershocks since then.
Turkish officials say at least three people were killed and 294 injured in the aftermath of the quake on Monday.
In the city of Antakya, in the southern province of Hatay, three men were trapped when a building that survived the first earthquake collapsed two weeks ago, according to their relative, Yahya Hallak.
Hundreds of rescuers worked into the early hours of Tuesday morning trying to reach the men, some sleeping on rubble next to fires to keep warm, while others enduring freezing conditions to move heavy debris.
More than 130 people were injured in northwest Syria in Monday’s earthquake, which caused the collapse of a number of other buildings, the volunteer rescue group the White Helmets said.
“Our teams are working to transfer the wounded to hospitals, inspect the affected villages and towns, and remove rubble to open roads for ambulances,” the White Helmets said.
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The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially reported a magnitude of 6.4 at a depth of 10 kilometers before amending it to a magnitude of 6.3.
Officials have been urging the public to stay away from the buildings. Earlier on Monday, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay called on citizens “not to enter the damaged buildings, especially to take their belongings.”
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that 18 of the injured were in serious condition and had been transferred to Adana and Dortyol. He said that field hospitals continue to provide services to other patients.
“I hope that the wounded, the sick, the local population and all the people of our country will recover soon. May God ease our pain with health and wellness and protect us from new pains and fears,” Koca said.
The mayor of Samandag, near the site of the quake, said some buildings had collapsed and the mood was one of panic after the disaster and emergency management warning.
The earthquake was felt by CNN teams in Adana, Turkey, as well as by eyewitnesses in Gaziantep and Mersin.
Monday’s quake came on the heels of the deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6 that left more than 46,000 people dead in Turkey and Syria.
Families affected by the earthquake two weeks ago told CNN of the terror caused by Monday’s tremors.
Zaher, who lives in a town between the cities of Iskenderun and Antakya in the Turkish province of Hatay, said, “We went back to our house, and this shock occurred again, and we left… God grant us success.”
“We don’t know what we’re going to do today – today we’re going to be in the car and in the tent, and we don’t know what’s going to happen until tomorrow,” he told CNN.
On Sunday, Turkey’s Disaster Management Authority said it had ended most search and rescue operations nearly two weeks after the quake, as experts say the chances of survival for people trapped under the rubble so far away from the disaster are unlikely.
There are still some efforts in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay provinces. And the official Anadolu news agency reported that a couple and their 12-year-old child were rescued, Saturday, in Hatay, 296 hours after the earthquake.
Efforts to recover survivors have been hampered by a cold winter in the quake-stricken areas, while authorities grapple with the logistical challenges of getting aid into northwest Syria amid an acute humanitarian crisis exacerbated by years of political conflict.
Strong earthquakes are not alien to Turkey, as they occur along tectonic plate boundaries. The country has been hit by seven earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater in the past 25 years – but the one on February 6 was the strongest and deadliest.
Monday’s quake is considered an aftershock as it occurred in the same general area and is smaller than the original quake, which had a magnitude of 7.8.
According to the USGS, “aftershocks become less frequent over time, although they can last for days, weeks, months, or even years for a very large mainshock.”
This story has been updated with new information from the USGS.
CNN’s Karen Khader and Taylor Ward contributed to this report.