Turkey Earthquake Comes With Devastating Effects


The Economist

Turkish man whose house was unfortunately destroyed during the earthquake

Alicia Kilian, Staff Writer

During the early morning of February 6th, a disastrous earthquake ripped through the countries of Turkey and Syria, resulting in dangerous aftershocks, over 20,000 deaths, and countless injuries. 

Striking in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, this earthquake has been one of the strongest to hit the region in over a century. It measured a 7.8 on the Richter scale and surpassed the magnitude of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which hit a 7.0. As an effect of the quake, there have been at least 125 aftershocks which measured at least a 4.0 since Monday according to CNN. Two of the largest aftershocks measured 7.5 and 6.4 respectively. The aftershocks are not the only concern however, as weather conditions have been a major obstacle for rescue teams. Temperatures have reached below freezing and snow has caused further hardships for those trapped beneath the endless rubble. These rescue efforts have spanned 10 provinces, and have been getting endless support internationally. Beside Turkey and Syria, the quake also reached surrounding countries, such as Iraq and Jordan.

This is nothing new to Turkey as it is a hotspot for many quakes, having experienced seven earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 or greater within the past 25 years. This is due to its location, which overlaps four tectonic plates: the Eurasian plate, the Anatolian plate, the African plate, and the Arabian plate. This makes Turkey very vulnerable to quakes, so much so that certain architectural measures have been implemented to make buildings safer. Unfortunately, many succumbed to the quake, resulting in thousands of destroyed buildings. The region is currently on an earthquake watch, and the 10 most-affected provinces were declared to be in a state of emergency by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The stories described by witnesses have been heartbreaking. Sinan Demir, a 45 year old from Gaziantep, said his neighborhood was destroyed after being struck. He was forced to go to a basketball club for three days as a form of shelter and has since relocated to a park. Many survivors have been buried under rubble for days without food or water. Amid these tragic stories, there have been those of hope and miracles. Muhammed, a young Syrian child, was rescued after 45 hours. Siblings Hilal and Sukru, aged 12 and 8, were pulled from rubble in Haytay 80 hours after the earthquake. 

If you would like to donate toward rescue efforts, the following are links to websites that are fundraising for this cause: International Rescue Committee and Oxfam.