Natural Disaster: Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

Aftershocks Struck the Regions Causing Further Damages

Selina Chen, Editor, Writer, Reporter

The occurrence of a brutal earthquake in Turkey and Syria left people in shock and disbelief. The earthquake struck Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6, 2023. The magnitude of 7.8 shook Turkey and Syria at 4:17 a.m. in the morning. According to Turkish and Syrian officials, a total of 41,000 people have been killed by this disaster and there are more deaths till this day. On February 20, 2023 another 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey, causing more deaths and injuries in the area (World Vision).

According to World Vision, reports show that there are over 87,000 injuries and at least 47,000 buildings have been destroyed or damaged. Because the earthquake struck early in the morning, most people were asleep in their beds. According to the UNHCR, the quake hit at least 10 Turkish provinces, including Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Malatya, and Sanliurfa. Along with that in Syria, the cities of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Idlib were badly hit. Buildings were damaged and many reported to have collapsed.

Collapsed Buildings In Turkey-Syria

People caught in the earthquake explained how they woke up because of the shaking in their house. Parents immediately ran to their children. They had trouble running straight to the door to escape the building. The amount of fear and panic they experienced caused great chaos and made them feel helpless in this situation. 

The  earthquake left hundreds and thousands of families and children homeless, according to World Vision. The low temperatures put the children a great risk of hypothermia. Children in their families continue to need assistance. 

Since the first earthquake there has been a series of serious aftershocks that have been affecting Turkey and Syria. On February 20, 2023, two weeks after the first quake,  an aftershock of 6.3 magnitude hit southern Turkey near the Syrian border killing at least 6 people. This aftershock set off panic and further damaged buildings. The tremors of the quake were very strong and lasted for a long time. Buildings collapsed and left a huge amount of dust flowing in the night air. The dust was felt in Egypt and Lebanon. According to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre, the tumor struck at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles) Reuters:”Panic as Turkey, Syria Rocked Again by 6.3 M Earthquake” . On February 21, 2023, 6 people were killed because of the earthquake. 

On February 27, 2023, another 5.6 magnitude with a depth of 6.15 km earthquake hit southeast Turkey, according to Turkish authorities. This killed one person, wounded 110, and collapsed and destroyed 110 buildings. The rescue team managed to carry out one man alive from a building in the province of Malatya. A little while later a woman, said to be the man’s daughter, was saved from the same apartment block. They were said to have entered the damaged building to retrieve some prized possessions they had left behind after the first earthquake on the 9th. There was another building where three people were found to be trapped under the collapsed building. Reuters: “How Turkey has been rattled by aftershocks since the Feb. 6 earthquake”.

Because of these aftershocks, Turkey and Syria are in a devastated state. More than 570 aftershocks were recorded within 24 hours of the first earthquake on February 6. More than 10,000 were recorded three weeks after. At least 14 more earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.4 and above occurred within two days of the main quake. The reason for these earthquakes is because the first quake’s magnitude caused a separate rupture on the earth’s surface.

Turkey is located on the Anatolian plate. Two tectonic plates — the Arabian and Eurasian are squeezing the Anatolian plate. When the plates come in contact, pressure causing the earthquake occurs, according to CNR News.

According to National News, Airbnb is offering temporary accommodation, free of charge, for people who are in need of a shelter because of the earthquake. The company explains,“survivors and first responders urgently need temporary housing. Every donation will be matched up to $5 million total, doubling your impact.” The support will also include first responders assisting with search and rescue. Because of the earthquakes, people are uncertain if buildings are safe and on top of that, there is no electricity or water available. So with the temporary shelter, people would be able to have somewhere to stay. 

There are many charities that support earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. Charity Navigator is a site that helps people choose reputable charities for their donations. Some of the charities are Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross, and Syrian American Medical Society Foundation. Visit Charity Navigator if you would like to help out.