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LA County firefighters head to Turkey for relief aid after 7.8M earthquake that killed more than 6,000

CBS Los Angeles 2/7/2023 Danielle Radin

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is sending a task force to Turkey after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Monday morning, crumbling homes, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving devastation across a wide portion of the country and into northern Syria. 

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The agency said they are mobilizing California Task Force 2 after a request was made for United States aid by Turkish leaders. The task force will provide immediate relief efforts, firefighters said. 

The team will include 81 people, six canine teams and three structural engineers, according to the agency.

Turkish Americans living in Los Angeles told KCAL News Monday that the destruction is vast in Turkey. 

"I have almost 50 relatives there," said Yousuf San. "My son showed me five or six miles there and both sides were destroyed. All the buildings." 

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the magnitude of the pre-dawn quake and said a second temblor, registering 7.5 on the Richter scale, struck just hours after the first one and not far away.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said more than 1,650 people were killed across 10 of the country's provinces, with more than 11,000 others injured. 

In the government-held areas of neighboring Syria, which is still being rocked by violence from a decade-long civil war, the Health Ministry said more than 556 people were killed. Civilian rescue agencies that operate in Syria's rebel-held northwest said at least 430 people were killed there, with hundreds more injured.

Frantic search efforts were still underway in both countries, with rescuers digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings to find any survivors.

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