Monday, February 6, Turkey experienced its worst disaster in 84 years. Over 2,300 people from Turkey and Syria have died due to a powerful earthquake that struck the southeast of the country, close to the Syrian border.
More than 1,500 people have died in Turkey, while 810 people are thought to have died in Syria. There have been thousands of injuries, including at least 5,385 in Turkey and 2,000 in Syria.
The United States Geological Survey offered detailed information on this event. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.8. It struck in Gaziantep at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT), and its depth measured 17.9 kilometers (11 miles). Seismologists have deemed the original earthquake one of the largest ever recorded in Turkey. According to the survivors, the shaking lasted for two minutes.
A second earthquake of magnitude 7.5 was generated twelve hours later, with its epicenter in the Elbistan region of the Kahramanmaras province. The second earthquake was “independent” of the initial one, according to a disaster and emergency management authority official in Turkey.
Turkey is situated in a seismically active area of the world. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the disaster on Monday as the worst to strike the country since the Erzincan earthquake in eastern Turkey in 1939, which is believed to have killed over 33,000 people.
Numerous films document the moment thousands of buildings collapsed as bystanders sprinted for cover amidst the earthquake. Multiple structures that were once four or five stories tall have been demolished.
Videos depicting fires have surfaced where the electricity infrastructure has been destroyed. Fatih Donmez, Turkey’s energy minister, acknowledged that gas pipelines had sustained considerable damage.
Israel, Cyprus, and Lebanon all reported feeling the earthquake’s effects. In Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, a student told the BBC, “I was writing something when all of a sudden, the entire building started shaking.”
The unnamed source continued, “I didn’t know what to feel. I was beside the glass and terrified it was going to break. The shaking lasted four or five minutes. It was astounding and horrifying at the same time.”
Search and rescue teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way to Turkey, and the European Union is sending additional aid. The UK has announced that it will deploy 76 experts, tools, and rescue dogs.
The United States, Israel, France, Germany, and Germany have all promised assistance for Turkey. Meanwhile, both Russia and Iran have pledged to support Syria and Turkey.
As per Turkey’s interior minister, Suleymon Soylu, the initial quake impacted ten cities, including Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir, and Kilis. In these affected cities, authorities have suspended schools for at least one week.
Cover Image: Depo Photos via AP