Earthquake News

Fatal earthquake leaves thousands dead in Turkey and Syria

Tragically, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake has taken the lives of over 2,500 individuals and left countless others injured in Turkey and Syria. As rescue operations continue, the death toll is expected to rise. This massive quake, considered one of the strongest to hit the region in over a century, struck 14.2 miles east of Nurdagi in Turkey's Gaziantep province at a depth of 14.9 miles. In the aftermath of the initial shock, the region has been rocked by multiple powerful aftershocks, including a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. As the search for survivors continues, Turkey's disaster agency has called for support from the international community in their efforts.

Dr. Mazen Kewara, the Turkey director for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and his family sought refuge in their car following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria. In an interview with CNN, Kewara described the experience as "horrible" and expressed concern for the 4.5 million internally displaced persons in northwest Syria who are unable to seek the same level of safety and protection. Kewara, who runs the operation serving northwest Syria from Gaziantep in southern Turkey, emphasized the stark difference in infrastructure and resources between Turkey and northwest Syria, where everything is run by NGOs. SAMS has reported 180 earthquake deaths and 800 casualties thus far.


According to the US Geological Survey, a minimum of 54 aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.3 or higher have occurred in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey on Monday. Three of these aftershocks measured 6.0 or greater, including a significant 7.5 magnitude quake located 59 miles north of the main quake's epicenter. These aftershocks have been recorded along a 300-kilometer (186-mile) fault zone running from southwest to northeast, extending from the Syrian border to the province of Malatya.

Ismail Alabdullah, a volunteer with the White Helmets in Syria, stated that their organization is struggling to keep up with the aftermath of the disaster. He explained that their efforts to assist those in need are stretched beyond their capabilities and that this disaster requires international aid to effectively handle. Winter weather is exacerbating the already dire situation for people lacking basic necessities, Alabdullah added. Many of those affected were displaced multiple times due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, according to Mark Kaye of the International Rescue Committee. The initial assessment of the damage was not as severe as what was revealed in daylight, leaving the team on the ground shocked by the extensive devastation.


"Our teams are working around the clock to help save the injured people, but our capabilities and resources are not enough to handle this disaster," said Ismail Alabdullah, a White Helmets volunteer in Syria. "This disaster is larger than any organization in northwest Syria and needs international efforts to be effectively addressed." - from CNN reporter

According to Ismail Alabdullah, a White Helmets volunteer in Syria, the organization is in need of heavy equipment to remove rubble and medical supplies for those rescued. He hopes that countries will respond with support based on "human values and human rights." He emphasized the need for immediate action to prevent more deaths in the aftermath of the earthquake.

The earthquake in northwest Syria on Monday has affected 4.1 million people who depend on humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Most of the affected people are women and children. Along with the earthquake, the region is facing an ongoing cholera outbreak and harsh winter conditions with heavy rain and snow. The UN and its partners are monitoring the situation, but the assessment of infrastructure damages is difficult due to telecommunication disruptions and power shortages. Roadblocks have also been reported in both Turkey and northwest Syria.

A CNN producer who felt the earthquake in Turkey said the aftershocks were like "Armageddon." Eyad Kourdi described the situation as "even more catastrophic" in the neighboring town of Pazarcik. He said that as he was leaving he witnessed people running out of cars during a major aftershock measuring 7.5 magnitude. On the way back to Gaziantep, Kourdi saw five kilometers of traffic as people were trying to evacuate the city.

Biden says he has "authorized an immediate US response" to deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria
From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden has “authorized an immediate U.S. response” in the aftermath of a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria overnight. 

Other countries such as Spain and France will send rescue workers to Turkey to help with the aftermath of the earthquake. France will send 139 civil security rescue workers and Spain will send 85 specialists to support search and rescue operations. France stands in full solidarity with Turkey, according to the country's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. Spain's team will include 50 members from the defense ministry's military emergencies unit and 35 members from the Madrid regional government's emergency response unit. The European Union mechanism for civil protection has confirmed Turkey's acceptance of aid from Spain. 

“Jill and I were deeply saddened by the news of the devastating earthquakes that have thus far claimed thousands of lives in Turkiye and Syria. My Administration has been working closely with our NATO Ally Turkiye, and I authorized an immediate U.S. response,” Biden said in a statement Monday morning as CNN is learning that more than 2,000 people have been killed and rescue and recovery efforts continue.

Senior US officials, he said, are coordinating their Turkish counterparts on assistance needs.

“Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake,” Biden said. 
He added that “U.S.-supported humanitarian partners are also responding to the destruction in Syria.”

The President expressed condolences to those impacted by the earthquake.

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