Turkey and Syria’s Disastrous Earthquake

By: Beyza Guvenc

At approximately 4:17 am TRT on February 6th, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Southwestern Turkey (Türkiye) and Northern Syria, killing and injuring thousands whilst leaving millions homeless.

A geological survey of areas affected by the first quake.

Its epicenter stemmed along the East Anatolian Fault, close to Gaziantep, Turkey. Gaziantep is a popular historical city previously consisting of many ancient structures which have now been destroyed. Al Jazeera, a media network headquartered in the Middle East, has reported that at least 100 aftershocks of magnitude 4.4 or greater occurred following the first quake. 

As of February 10th, the death toll is confirmed to be at over 23,000.

Turkey has been victim to over 20 earthquakes with magnitudes of over 7 within the last century. This recent earthquake is the second most deadly in this rank, after the 1939 disaster in Erzican, Turkey, which killed over 32,700 people. 

What’s worse, the weather conditions in the region are harsh and have near-freezing temperatures. The thousands of people left without a home have had to camp outside or cramped in the few public buildings (like mosques and schools) that are still safely standing. 

A group of Turkish earthquake survivors trying to get warm near a fire, surrounded by rubble.
Victims of the quake huddled together in a crisis tent.

Responses to this disaster have varied. Many countries in Europe along with Japan and South Korea have sent humanitarian aid groups to the regions affected in Turkey. Groups within Turkey have also been participating in the aid. Despite this, many civilians argue that nobody came to help them in their time of need. 

“There are no teams here, everyone is waiting for rescue teams,” says Nursen Guler, a survivor. Another survivor, Sabiha Alinak, stressed, “Where is the state? Where have they been for two days? We are begging them.”

Their frustration is widespread and intense, but however little attention the Turkish may have been receiving, the situation in Syria is much worse. 

Because of the civil war that has been raging in the area since 2011, getting the necessary aid to the victims has been particularly difficult. Some affected cities didn’t receive any assistance until days after the original quake, and even then it was really minimal. Not only this, but because of political tensions, some countries are hesitant to send aid. 

Both countries as well as their surrounding regions are in need of immediate assistance. This is a vital time for humanity to come together and aid the victims. 

Below are several places you can donate to. Any contribution at all will be highly beneficial. 

Note: 1 U.S. Dollar = 18 Turkish Liras = 2512 Syrian Pounds

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