Turkey-Syria Earthquakes Updates: Two countries separated by a border were in for massive destruction for days to come after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, on February 6, 2023. It struck in the early hours of Monday morning near Gaziantep when people were asleep in their homes.
This major earthquake was followed by a second one of slightly lesser magnitude (7.6), after which there were plenty of aftershocks. Social media is now flooded with images and videos of toppled buildings, rubble and humanitarian efforts to rescue and rehabilitate those in need.
Turkey-Syria Earthquakes : Death Toll and Current Situation
As of February 16, 2023, the death toll has surpassed 41,000, with Turkish authorities claiming that 35,418 people have died in the country. The United Nations and the Syrian government claim that over 5,800 casualties have been reported in Syria.
Even after 10 days of the tragic event, rescue operations are still ongoing, and there is fear and panic all over social media as the Turkish police have arrested 78 people for “sharing provocative posts” related to the earthquake on their handles.
Turkey and Syria are now seeking assistance with tempers flaring in north-western Syria, which is the “zone of greatest concern” due to the slow delivery of humanitarian aid. Millions of survivors from Turkey and Syria need aid and rehabilitation.
Overview of The Events
Turkey-Syria Earthquakes that hit Turkey on February 6 at 4 am is believed to be the strongest one since 1939, when a quake of the same magnitude killed 30,000 people. The series of aftershocks after that led to thousands of people being impacted on February 6 itself, with 2,921 casualties and 15,800 injured in Turkey.
This 7.8 magnitude earthquake was centred in the Pazarcik district, which absolutely jolted Kahramanmaras and affected nearby areas of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.
Another earthquake of 7.6 magnitude centred in Kahramanmaras’s Elbistan district jolted the region, which was felt in Lebanon and Syria as well. The authorities are investigating the responsibility of building constructors due to the inability of the buildings to withstand the quakes.
What Led to The Earthquake?
The Earth’s plates often try to move but are prevented by the friction of rubbing up against each other. There are times when, due to the mounting pressure, one plate suddenly jerks, resulting in movement in the surface.
This is what happened in Turkey when the Arabian plate moved northwards, grinding against the Anatolian plate. These earthquakes are now measured on the Moment Magnitude Scale, which has replaced the better-known and less accurate Richter scale.
An earthquake above 8 on the scale can cause catastrophic damage, and the one in Turkey, at 7.8, is classified as a major earthquake, and similar to what happened here, can cause major damage.
In the last week, countless rescue operations have been carried out. Plenty of buildings collapsed due to the earthquake, and while Turkey has been receiving aid, Syria has felt abandoned as a lack of resources has hindered its rescue efforts.
This is because of approval issues between the Syrian government and the rebel-held territories, even after the United Nations stepped in to help. While the UN has previously delivered aid to the northwest part of war-torn Syria through Turkey under a Security Council mandate, it is currently restricted due to a border crossing.
After the news of the quake on February 6, the United States immediately assessed its response options to help the most affected areas. Israel provided urgent aid, and India also sent search and rescue teams to affected areas. Germany, France, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU) and Ukraine also shortly joined in to help aid the victims of this disaster.
Help is still pouring in, with rescue teams determined to scan every area affected by the earthquake for any other people who might need assistance.
The mood surely has been gloomy after the devastation Turkey and Syria were subjected to. Still, amid all the videos of rubble and destruction, social media has, during this whole time, managed to spot some instances offering a glimmer of hope.
Several human interest stories of the survivors have been captured and even the animals rescued during the missions. Among the many videos that went viral during this time included one of a pet owner insisting that his cat be rescued before him, resulting in rescuers successfully pulling out the grateful feline from under the rubble.
The damage and destruction caused due to the earthquakes have shaken up not just the victims but also those witnessing the damage on social media and others praying and sending aid for everyone affected by it in the form of donations.
Apart from the death toll ranging in thousands, the economy has also taken a hit, with a business group estimating that the destruction would cost Ankara up to $84.1 billion. In contrast, a government official estimates the figure to be a little over $50 billion.
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